Have Mercy

I’ve recently been elected and installed as a deacon at our church. We have about 15 deacons, and we’re charged with taking care of the physical needs of the people and property of the church so that the pastors and elders are free to deal with the spiritual needs. (Justification for deacons in Acts 6:1-4 and qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-10)

The deacons at our church work via committees, and I’m serving on the Mercy Committee. This committee handles requests from people in the church and community for help with any needs that they have. Today I did my first “investigation” of a request for help with a rent payment. I had to call the requestor and determine if I thought that he was credible or just scamming the church for some free money. (Apparently this happens not infrequently.) After talking with him and some other people, I think that his need is credible. I reported this to the committee and they have decided to help.

Good, but I have questions. What if I’m wrong? What if money that someone gave to the church to do God’s work ended up in the hands of a con artist because I’m naive? Or the other way around: what if I thought his story sounded fishy and turned him down, but then some honest guy at the end of his rope loses his apartment because some Christians refused to help him?

I currently have a mild case of, “Who am I to make this decision?” If we’d decided not to help him with his rent, I’d have a big case.