Our first and primary obligation is certainly to the local church. The Bible is very clear on the fact that we are to financially support those pastors who minister to us spiritual things, by ministering to their physical needs (1 Corinthians 9:7-11; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). The Scripture is equally plain regarding our obligation to support the poor and needy within the body of Christ (1 Timothy 5:16; 1 John 3:17).
As a church, we are also commanded to send the gospel into unreached places (Romans 10:13-17), and to care for the destitute and the hurting people in our communities (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10). We ought to always keep in mind the wonderful opportunity that is ours to literally minister to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by ministering to others in his name and for his sake (Matthew 25:34-40).
The local church is God’s organism for reaching and teaching and personally touching disciples in all nations.
The local church is God’s organism for reaching and teaching and personally touching disciples in all nations. However, even after all of our obligations to our church and in our community are fulfilled, it certainly is true that there is always more that can be done than what is already being done. There is always a need for more support for evangelism, more care for abused women, more assistance to orphan outreaches … the list goes on and on.
God is able to take our individual, sack-lunch gifts and multiply them into a collective provision for those in need.
While we cannot single-handedly be aware of every person and every need in the world, it should be a great encouragement to us to know that God is! And while God is certainly not limited to our meager gift-drops to supply the ocean of worldwide needs, he is able to take our individual, sack-lunch gifts and multiply them into a collective provision for the physically and spiritually hungry and weak and poor. And even when we give sacrificially, we can rest assured that God is able to care for our own needs, as well.
We should always keep in mind the marvelous reminder in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8:
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. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
The abounding sufficiency of God’s grace should lead us to abounding good works, to the glory of his name.