EARLY ON AUGUST 11, torrential downpours dumped rain on the surrounding Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas. Rain fell at a rates up to 2-3 inches per hour and overall totals exceeded nearly 2 feet in some areas as a result of the system remaining stationary. Accumulations reached as high as 31.39 inches in Watson, Louisiana.
The Washington Post noted that the “no-name storm” dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina. It dropped the equivalent of 7.1 trillion gallons of water or enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times. Hurricane Katrina, by comparison, dumped about 2.3 trillion gallons of rainwater in the state (though more in other states). The flood also dumped more water than Hurricane Isaac. According to the National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center, the amount of rainfall in the hardest-hit locations had a less than 0.1 percent chance of happening or was a (less than) 1-in-1,000-year event.
This flooding has caused heartache and hardship for some in our family of Christ. One congregation in particular, reached out to let brethren know of their plight. They requested help according to the pattern established in the New Testament, not through the institutions of man.
The pattern for aiding brethren in other areas has been established by Acts 11:27-30. “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” (emphasis mine seb).
A famine had arisen in the days of Claudius that had severely stricken the Christians in Judea. The Holy Spirit directed Paul on how this relief should be made. Paul wrote about the contribution being sent by the saints in Macedonia; “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” [Romans 15:26], so too, the church at Corinth [1Cor 16:1-4].
What we see from this pattern are individual saints (and local congregations) collecting money and sending it directly to the parties affected. No middlemen, no organizations that funnels off money for “operating costs” nor do we see a board of directors who can decide to send the money for a non-scriptural use (as we see with so many “charities”). What we see are saints fulfilling the need directly. The pattern is simple, clean AND EFFECTIVE, because it is the divine pattern from God.
As individuals, we have liberty to be a bit more broad with our benevolence. We’re able to give aid beyond just the saints, unlike the limitations placed upon the church treasury by the Holy Spirit [1Timothy 5:9,16]. If we can, we should be benevolent, being mindful of those times when we ought to refrain [Ga 6:10; 1Thess 3:10-12].
That being said, here is the note from the brethren in Louisiana;
STOP! The need involving Christians in Louisiana has been met.
With several families displaced by floods and facing reconstruction on the inside of their homes, the cost estimate was $500,000 beyond what that local church could do. However, THE NEED HAS BEEN MET.
I just spoke with one of the elders. Their biggest concern is returning the funds beyond what they need. I told him he’ll have to get a roll of stamps. He said, “Wilson, it will take rolls and rolls AND ROLLS of stamps…” He said, “We never dreamed there would be such an outpouring of help for us…”
He went on…
“Please spread the word that the need has been met and that we will do our best to return the monies not needed back to the source.” I am sure they will. But be patient. They have been flooded (sorry!) with overwhelming generosity.
Want Bible? Exodus 36:5: “The people were restrained from bringing any more…” Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. It just happened in Gonzales, Louisiana…
God is good. And so are His people. Please “Share” the news…
Praise God, the need was met for these folks within a few weeks, following God’s pattern of benevolence. I’m sure more can and should be done by individuals, and it can be done following God’s divine pattern for benevolence.