2019-02-14 - Doing for Others
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
In the hustle and bustle of our world it is very easy to focus on the things we have to get done focused on ourselves. Then the next group that gets our attention is our family. Then close friends, followed by others we work with, etc. The list goes on.
There are others we can easily miss. Those who have trouble feeding and taking care of themselves or those close to them. A friend and coworker of mine met a man who was homeless living in a very large garden in front of a large hotel. After chatting with him for a few minutes he asked my friend to follow him into the garden. There he met the man's wife and two children living in a small space in the middle of the garden. Meeting the man alone and being told of his plight was surprise enough. Meeting the rest of his family and knowing they had only the clothes on their backs and a few possession was heartbreaking. He gave the family the $15 he had in his pocket to help them.
He came to me, still a little stunned, and asked if he had done the right thing. I assured him he had. The man had shared with him that he had met a manager of a local small restaurant who said he could give him a job if he could show up for work showered, groomed and in clean clothes. He had a little cash in his pocket that would allow him to put his family up in a local shelter, plus a little for food. He needed bus fare to get them there. My friend gave him $20; five dollars for each bus ticket. A week later my friend went to the garden hoping to find the man he had helped. Nobody was there. He turned and started to walk away when a familiar voice called his name. He was clean shaved and his hair was styled. He was dressed in a new shirt and pants, and smiling. He had come back hoping to meet my friend to thank him. He had the job he was offered. The manger allowed him to keep the lion's share of his tips. He thanked my friend profusely. His family had a roof over their heads and they were looking for a permanent place to stay. His family's lives had been changed with a little help from a willing passer by.
This is almost as dramatic as the story in Luke 10:30-37. The man in the story there was robbed, beaten and left for dead. The man was badly hurt and passed by a priest and a Levite. But a Samaritan, a person who was probably the least expected to help, stopped and took care of the man, paid for a room for him to recover in, and more.
There are fakes and thieves, and there are people who are down to their last dollar. There are ways to help others that require some time, others a few dollars like my friend who met someone in genuine need and was able to help them. There are times and places for caution. And there are other times and methods of helping others, like listening. Our example, Jesus, helped people in a variety of ways. The woman caught in adultery was saved from stoning, execution quite literally, by the Lord reminding her accusers of their own flaws. The woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears was forgiven by Jesus. He recognized her faith and courage when others missed it completely because of who she had been, rather than who she was becoming.
Some of us are in need help. If we open our eyes and hearts it is quite possibly be amazed by the things we see in the people the Lord puts in our paths.
Dear Lord - Thank You for all You have done for us, even when we are struggling. Help us to see those we can assist. Sponsoring a child who lives in poverty can make an huge differences in their lives. A blanket delivered to a shelter, An old dresser given to someone who is just starting out and needs one. Time to help a struggling fellow student with their homework or project. Give us eyes to see, hearts to care, wisdom to recognize those who are truly in need. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.