13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
The apostle Paul gave this instruction to the Roman Christians while he was discussing the tribulation of God’s people. He told them how they should show their love towards the persecuted Christians.
Terrible persecution was unleashed by the Roman emperor Nero and his people against Christians. Many were driven out of their homes and stripped of their occupations, leaving them destitute and homeless. The unbelievers around them were reluctant to help the suffering Christians. With the number of helpless Christians on the rise, the urgent need for “relief” was all too obvious. Here in Romans 12:13, the apostle Paul called Christians’ attention to the plight of the needy saints. He exhorted them to provide two types of aid, namely finance and lodging.
Firstly, he exhorted them to take heed of “distributing to the necessity of saints”. The word “distribute” means to communicate or share or contribute. Paul encouraged those who had enough or more, to share their abundance with those who were in need. In 2 Corinthians 8:13-14, Paul gave this advice, “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality”. The instruction to Christians is that let those who are blessed with material goods relieve the needs of the poor and needy. In Galatians 6:10, Paul said, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Christians are divinely mandated to help those who are poor in the society, especially poor Christians.
Secondly, Paul advised Christians to give themselves to hospitality. Finding a good and safe place to stay was by no means easy at that time. Not only the homeless, but the travelling missionaries as well, were in need of lodging. So, Paul instructed Christians to become thoroughly involved in the business of supplying good lodging places. Scripture commands Christians to practise hospitality gladly, not grudgingly. 1 Peter 4:9 exhorts, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” Church leaders are expected to be hospitable persons (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8). Likewise, every believer should be hospitable. It is God’s will for every Christian to readily and cheerfully extend his help to needy Christians.