Acceptable Worship: An Eagerness to Meet the Needs of God’s People

Romans 12:13, Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake, Zambales Mountains, Philippines
Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake, Zambales Mountains, Philippines | May 2012

Romans 12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Trials and difficulties are inevitable, and it is during times of difficulties that we ought to help those who are in need especially the saints or the family of believers.

Contributing to the needs of the saints

“Contributing” in the Greek is koinōnéō which means to have a share of, to have fellowship with, to participate and share in. It is making another’s necessities one’s own as to relieve them.

To love is to meet the needs of others. Sincerely loving fellow believers would drive us to share in their needs. The 1st century church has shown an excellent example in contributing to the needs of fellow believers.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:32-37)

This example is going against the grain of society. The world thinks only of oneself and what one can benefit, but the Lord teaches us to be set apart from the world. The early church had everything in common and that is what we are also called to do. The resources we have are entrusted to us for God’s purposes, for the advancement of His Kingdom, for His glory.

Practicing hospitality

Interestingly, the word “practicing” in the Greek is diṓkō which means pursue with all haste, to chase after; earnestly desiring to overtake or apprehend. It is the same root word used for persecute, so negatively it means to zealously persecute or hunt down, and positively, it means to earnestly pursue, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.

Then the word “hospitality” in the Greek is philoxenia which means love to strangers. It is the warmth and friendliness shown to strangers; figuratively it means the readiness to share hospitality, hence also generosity, by entertaining in one’s home, etc. This means that we are called not only to be hospitable to those we are closely related with but even with those who are not in our circle of close friends because they are still part of the family of believers.

Practicing hospitality is more than just being friendly and welcoming to guests but also being ready and earnestly pursuing love to strangers. The writer of Hebrews also said, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2a). Peter also said in 1 Peter 4:9 to “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Conclusion

An attitude of generosity comes from having a proper perspective on the resources the Lord has given us.

…Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:16-10)

Contributing to the needs of the saints and practicing hospitality are marks of a sacrificial love. It requires us to share in the needs of others by making their necessities as part of our own. It also involves us to eagerly pursue showing love to strangers and being ready to offer help for a fellow believer.

Sincere love seeks the good of the beloved and reaches out to meet their needs. It is going out of one’s comfort zone and valuing others as more significant than ourselves.

As family of believers, we are called to be devoted one another deeply, to serve the Body selflessly and zealously, to love genuinely, to set an example in honoring others in humility, to persevere in tribulations, and to meet other’s needs. This is our spiritual service of worship, in view of God’s mercy and everything He has done for us.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21) 

Romans 12 Personal Study Series:
Acceptable Worship: An Offering Prescribed by God (Romans 12:1-2)
Acceptable Worship: A Selfless Service (Romans 12:3-8)
Acceptable Worship: A Love That Conforms to God’s Character (Romans 12:9-10)
Acceptable Worship: A Zealous and Fervent Service to the Lord (Romans 12:11)
Acceptable Worship: Joyful, Prayerful and Persevering in Tribulation (Romans 12:12)
Acceptable Worship: An Eagerness to Meet the Needs of God’s People (Romans 12:13)

References:
Interlinear Bible
Parallel Bible

For further understanding of Romans 12 you can check these sites: GCF’s sermon series on RomansJohn MacArthur’s sermon series on Romans or Bible.Org

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