John, the disciple writes:
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1Jn 3:17 NIV)
Does that mean if I have money in my pocket I am obliged to help another believer financially? Are there no boundaries? No other guidelines?
Although the natural tendency is to keep our stuff for ourselves (thus this encouragement to move beyond that), to decide we are obliged to give money to address any and all needs would be going to far.
John’s rhetorical question implies that using our material possessions to meet this need is a valid expression of God’s love. The Father’s love does not give us things that are not good for us, nor does His love help the recipient to be irresponsible. These are great guidelines for us to have in mind when we are considering helping another believer! First ask: Is the “need” legitimate? Is my assistance true help?
What other guidelines would you suggest?