How you can help:
- First Christian Church, has a Food Pantry, and you can help by either donating canned goods or through a monetary gift to help people in the El Dorado area.
- The Salvation Army is a nation-wide ministry that exists to help those in need.
- Samaritan’s Purse is a global ministry that responds to the physical and spiritual needs of people in times of crisis.
- The Lord’s Diner is a ministry in Wichita that focuses on feeding the hungry.
- Red Cross
As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:10
While I was doing a little reading last night, I found my way to Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed (ESV).” The Message provides this rendering of that verse: “Mercy to the needy is a loan to God,and God pays back those loans in full.”
After reading this verse, a couple of questions came to my mind:
- If God repays those who are generous to the poor, how does he reward those who are miserly?
- Is this verse to be interpreted in just a physical sense or is their also a spiritual significance as in the poverty of the nonbeliever?
My musing led me to think about how this verse could be applied to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. In this story a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed and left badly beaten. This man was seen by three different individuals:
- The thieves saw him and said: “What’s yours is ours, so we’ll just take it.”
- The priest saw him and said: “What’s mine is mine, and I won’t share it.”
- The Samaritan said: “What’s mine is God’s, so I’ll bless you with it.”
Which of these three individuals embraced the principle of Proverbs 19:17? Which one of the them showed mercy, exhibited kindness, and manifested generosity? How do you respond when you see someone in need?
Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord—
the benefit of his gift will return to him in abundance.
Proverbs 19:17 (ISV).
Wednesday of this week was a busy day, and I really didn’t think I had the time to deal with the situation at hand. I had been “rushed” all day long, and I still had work to do before I’d be ready for two more meetings.
Even if I took the time, money was going to be an i$$ue. The church had already helped several people, and when this happens money can do an abrupt disappearing act.
So what do you say when you hear a trouble voice on the other end of the phone say: “I have no money. I have no food. I have no place to sleep tonight. If you could help me with a place to stay for just tonight, I’d really be grateful.”
The funds were low, my preparation time was almost gone, and I was ready to say: “My heart goes out to you, but due to limited resources we just can’t help you now.” In fact, I did say it. Then I quickly said: “Go ahead and come to my office. I’ll figure out some way to take care of the bill.”
I did more than pay for a night in a hotel, I also arranged for her to get food for supper; but, what meant the most to her was that I listened to her as she told her story. She was then willing to listen to me as I told the story of God’s love for her.
Now here is the reason I couldn’t deny her request: While I was listening to her with my left ear, I was hearing the words of James in my right ear: “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense (James 2:14-17)?”
“God bless you” to this woman would have been God-talk without God-acts, and it would have been nonsense—I’m glad James whispered in my ear.
What do you do when you see someone struggling because the circumstances of their life are almost unbearable? Do you help bear their burdens?
One of the clear precepts of Paul on this subject is found in Galatians 6:1-3: “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” ~The Message
I hope this Scripture challenges you to make today the day that you will be the Good Samaritan to the hapless and helpless, and to those who need a helping hand. Stoop down and reach out to them and share their burdens. Bolster their courage, lighten their load, strengthen them in their struggle, and share the love of Christ with them.
Seeing and not doing is not sharing. Observing and ministering is embracing the vision of Christ: “When Jesus saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few; therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Read the verses above one more time and listen intently and carefully to what you hear. Is it a whisper or a shout? To me, it sounds like Jesus is saying, “I need more people to labor in the harvest—more people who are willing to stoop down, reach out, and lighten the heavy load of their friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.”
Don’t deny it. Don’t turn a deaf ear to it. I know you can hear it. Jesus is saying: “I need you!”