As God stirs hearts and provides abundantly for North Wakers, we want to organize to reach the lost, meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those around us.
Don’t Save It Overnight
Both Corinth and Jerusalem were regions of the Roman Empire. When Paul 2 Corinthians around 55 AD, a big topic was the ongoing collection for the poor Christians living in Jerusalem.
Both congregations were Christians, but there were lots of differences between the two groups: family backgrounds; language; political affiliation; long distance. Some Christians had more than they needed; other Christians had less than they needed.
Even when he wrote them, the Corinthians already had a reputation for generosity. They were an example and inspiration to others (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). Paul never wanted to make a demand on their giving (2 Corinthians 8:8, 9:7). Yet Paul needed to explain to them that the needs in Jerusalem were to be balanced by the abundance in Corinth.
2 Corinthians 8:13-14 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
To explain his claim that this is a “matter of fairness”, Paul refers us to the Israelites in the Desert:
Exodus 16:14-21: When the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. … Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
James Tissot: Gathering of the Manna
God was bountiful in his supply of manna— “as much as they can eat.” But there were those who tried to accumulate extra, lost what they had saved. Moses recorded in Exodus that the excess manna ruined overnight. Unnatural excess, beyond their need, led to decay and filth.
God’s people are warned frequently about gathering too much. Jesus warns us against accumulating our treasure on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). His brother, James, warns us against collecting too much when there are injustices we should remedy (James 5:2,3). Proverbs 22:4 guides us to look for the point where we should desist acquiring wealth.
Paul is connecting the people of God in Christ — spread out across culture, space, and income — with those people of God in the desert. The people of God in Corinth, and the people of God in Jerusalem, were both gathering from God’s blessing.
Aren’t we serving the same God today?
Aren’t we benefiting from his blessing, just as the Corinthians and the Israelites were?
Organization and Stirred Hearts
We have seen God provide for us to pay off all our building debt. He has moved hearts to great generosity to create this place of worship in Wake Forest at 1212 South MainStreet. And we are aware of great needs in our community and around the world.
In the desert, God moved the dew and left manna. In Christ, God moves hearts to long to give — and to organize, and to send. Paul shows us that the distribution now can be done by God’s people.
2 Corinthians 9:5-7,10 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver…. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Organization supports work of the heart: “Arrange in advance for the gift, so that it may be ready as a willing gift.” Though Paul is confident they want to give, he organizes leaders to organize the giving. Organized gathering is good, even when the giving is a matter of the heart. This is why we organize at North Wake for giving.
Nobody should be forced: “Willing gift…Not an exaction.” The act of organizing must not make anyone feel compelled. (This same word for “gift” in the original language, from the root “eulogia”, is frequently translated “blessing”.)
Blessing is a cycle of giving a gift, and being blessed by God: “Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…He…will multiply your seed for sowing and increase your harvest of righteousness.” A gardener who plants more seed will gather more cucumbers. Paul assures us that those who share bountifully (same root word, “eulogia”) will reap bountifully.
Eight Needs for Gen12 at North Wake
The Gen12 offering at North Wake is intended to follow Paul’s model of organizing giving from people who have hearts moved by God. In the case of the Corinthians, their hearts were moved by sharing their excess specifically with poor Christians. They knew the suffering of those oppressed Christians in Jerusalem, and because they trusted God and loved Jesus’s people, they were motivated.
There are many needs which we could support, but there are eight areas in particular that have stirred the hearts of many at North Wake where God may give us opportunity.
- Hungry: Some children in our area don’t have enough to eat on weekends and when school is closed. We want to find ways to provide food for them to take home to eat on the weekends.
- Neighbors: We have neighbors who work in the businesses immediately surrounding our church building, many of whom have never met a North Wake member. Statistics from our area show that many of our neighbors in the triangle are moving from other countries where the name of Christ is not known.
- Stricken: There are people outside North Wake Church, but who are in our Wake Forest community, and who run into severe financial distress, due to illness, or natural disaster, or some other severe blow. They will need our help, and we want to be ready to give in the name of Christ. This will be a “Bless Wake Forest” fund.
- Struggling: Hope Counseling is for those around us who are suffering without hope and access to a Christian counselor. Some are unable to get help because of staffing and scheduling limitations on our ability to offer Hope Counseling appointments. We wish to more fully fuel Hope Counseling.
- Parents: Our neighbors who need to hear Christ, and who bring children to our gatherings. They need confidence in the safety and comfort of their children; for them, playgrounds are a sign of a well-run and safe environment. Some of our older equipment was found to be unsafe and had to be removed; we wish to fund the construction of safe and modern playground areas.
- Unreached: There are many without a Bible in their language. In particular, there is one Asian people group for which there is only one known believer. We have a connection with that group, and we want to provide for them to have the Bible in their language.
- Laborers: Our missionaries are on the front lines of reaching the lost who need teaching, encouragement, friendship, and training. We want to gather our sent out missionaries to a conference to build them up and fuel them for the ministry.
- Japan: There are millions of people of Japan, and visiting the Olympics, who have never met a Christian. We hope to send our Worship team to a venue at the Olympics to encourage and teach.
The Gen12 offering is named for the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:
Genesis 12:1-2 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
We are grafted into Abraham’s family, and we have been blessed by God. He is a God who blesses. We wish to pass on the blessing, and to receive again, and to see God increase our seed for sowing.
Pray with us for God to meet these needs, and allow God to stir your heart for these things. And if you are enabled, and your heart is moved with compassion and hope to pass on the blessing of God, join with us in this project.