Over the last few weeks I have been asked to help people in a variety of ways. There have also been times that I have volunteered to help with something without being asked. Some times it has been things that fall within my responsibilities as a pastor like visiting at the hospital, counseling, or helping someone think through a passage in the Bible. Other times it has been the things you would ask a friend or family member to help with like moving furniture, giving someone a ride, or babysitting. Just the everyday things that we all do either willingly or after persuasion.
What has impacted me recently has been the responses that I have received. It’s amazing how a small act of kindness can be so meaningful to someone. I think that the reason for this is that no matter what you are helping someone with the end result is that what you give them is yourself. For those who receive this gift of your time the value to them is immeasurable.
I think this might be part of what Jesus had in mind when he spoke these words, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36).” Part of meeting the expectation of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is meeting physical needs. It’s great to offer to pray for someone when they have a need, but we also need to role up our sleeves and give them a hand.
That is one of the things that I admire about my dad. All my life I can remember him helping people; working on a car for someone, building things, fixing things, or whatever was needed. There was no task too big or too small for him. If someone needed help he would make the time and be there until the job was done. His investment of time in others has been one of the best sermons that has been preached.
There are people all around us who need help in practical physical ways, and also in spiritual ways. Let’s meet both of those needs. Let’s pray and preach, but also sit and cry with the hurting, visit the sick or imprisoned, repair the broken, and feed the hungry. Each of these holds the opportunity to share the love of Christ and lift up those who need a helping hand. Let’s get to work.