By Bill Robinson, Jr.
Are we a “caring” people? The familiar sound of the word “care” often loses its significance in the lives of those who are indifferent toward the will of God. The apostle Paul speaks of the “earnest care” of the Christians regarding their own lives as well as that of the lives of others (see 2 Cor. 7:11-12).
One who does not respect the will of God (i.e. allowing it to govern his life) finds little room to sympathize or rejoice with others. However, the clear tone of the Bible resounds repeatedly with admonitions for every Christian to “rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another” (Rom. 12:14-15). A “Christian” (?) who depreciates the will of God, refusing to accept the teaching of inspiration on any given subject, demonstrates certain lack of care for his own soul’s well-being. How can such a one truly care for others if he cares not for his own soul?
Paul exhorts the church at Corinth to prove the sincerity of their care (earnestness) for needy brethren (2 Cor. 8:8). To stimulate the Corinthian church to this end, Paul reminds them of the Macedonian brethren who did achieve this “earnest care” for brethren. How was it possible for the Macedonians in their “affliction” and “deep poverty” to exercise with an “abundant joy” care for needy brethren (see vv. need. 1-2)? The answer is found in the text: “but they first gave their own selves to the Lord” (v. 5). To exercise a proper care for one another we must first exercise a proper care for the will of God in our own lives. One must first give himself completely to the Lord before he can sincerely exercise “earnest care” for another.
In the same text, Paul speaks to them of Titus’ own personal care for them: “But thanks be to God, who putteth the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus” (2 Cor. 8:16). One may ask, “How did God put care in Titus’ heart for the Corinthians?” The answer is found in the attitude of Titus, — like his traveling companion, his “praise was in the gospel” (v. 18). That is, a care for the things of the gospel. Titus willingly, “of his own accord” (v. 17), went to help the Corinthians exercise their care for the needy brethren. Titus allowed himself to be used according to the will of God, which enabled him to exercise an “earnest care” for the brethren in Corinth, by helping them to exercise the same care for those in need.
When each of us, individually, learns to give ourselves first to the Lord, then God will put the “earnest care” of others in our hearts. Collectively then, as a congregation which has given itself first to the Lord, it can truly be said,”God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care for another. And whether one suffereth, all suffer . . . or one member is honored, all rejoice . . .” (1 Cor. 12:24-26). Are we a caring people? Before we answer, let us first give ourself to God. Think on these things!
Guardian of Truth XXX: 13, p. 398
July 3, 1986