The deacons need funds in order to be able to extend the help needed. Families or single members who need financial assistance should not have to wait for some time until the deacons have found ways and means to gather the amount needed. Oftentimes help should be given immediately. For this reason it is advisable that the deacons have some funds readily available. It is difficult to determine how large the reserves should be. They certainly should not take the place of the trust in the Lord who will provide for His people. Nor should we ever go again into the direction that many deacons followed many years ago, when the college of deacons sometimes owned stocks and bonds and houses, frequently — judging by what stories have been passed on to us in personal recollections as well as in literature — at the cost of those for whose benefit the offerings had been gathered in. If the deacons are afraid that their balance becomes too large and could constitute a threat to true piety and generosity, they will always be able to find needs and misery elsewhere that they could help alleviate to some extent.
They should also keep the congregation informed about their needs, so that the congregation may be able to determine from time to time what the size of their offerings should be. If less is needed, less should be given; when the needs increase, the offerings are to be increased.
In smaller congregations it may be advisable not to publish the total amount of financial support given each month. It can be found out so easily who is being supported, as every one may know every one else. There is, of course, no blame or stigma attached to being financially assisted. The assistance comes from the Great Shepherd who in this manner looks after the needs of all His own. It is a privilege for the congregation and for the deacons when they are allowed to help the needy of whom the Saviour said that we shall always have them with us. It would be a loss to the church if it were no longer enabled to show mercy and compassion in this manner.
On the other hand, the honour and dignity of those who receive assistance should be preserved as much as possible. When financial assistance