In Bits & Pieces, William C. Schultz tells about a time his 3-year-old daughter Laurie requested help in getting undressed and ready for bed.
Schultz said he was downstairs and she was upstairs, so he reminded her, “You know how to undress yourself,”
“Yes,” Laurie replied, ‘but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves.”
Helping others comes in many forms. It may be financial help. Physical help. Or vocational help. One may need help with a difficult task. Moving an object. Or carrying a heavy load.
However, like little Laurie sometimes people can do things themselves, but having someone there for support, encouragement, and reassurance is helpful and valuable.
Christians ought to be the most helpful people in the world. The command in Galatians 6:10 to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers,” speaks to helping both our fellow man as well as fellow Christians. The command, of course, is predicated on “as we have opportunity.”
The opportunity to do some great and noble deed as in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan may not often present itself. But daily we are presented with the opportunity to be helpful in “little things” that may mean a lot to the one we’re helping. For instance…
….helping our spouse with a small chore around the house.
…opening the door for a stranger who’s carrying a pile of packages.
…contributing to a worthy cause with our spare change at the grocery store.
…supporting a little girl selling Girl-Scout cookies.
…sending a sympathy card to someone whose loved one has died.
…listening to a friend who’s wrestling with a personal problem or an important decision.
…calling a friend just to say “hello” and let them know you’re thinking of them.
…texting a sick brother or sister to check on their health and well-being.
…sending an email with a funny story to brighten someone’s day.
…offering sincere, honest, and thoughtful feedback to one seeking our advice.
…a simple gesture, like a knowing smile, a pat on the back, or a hug that says “I know what you’re going through and I care.”
Additionally, there may be opportunities for more serious and substantial ways to help others. The Bible exhorts us to “bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), “comfort the fainthearted and “help the weak” (1 Thess. 5:14). Those with ample financial resources are also instructed to “to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim 6:18).
Being helpful emotionally, spiritually, or financially to meet another’s needs requires insight, wisdom, and prudence on our part to help in a way that is appropriate and advantageous. Being perceptive and sensitive to the feelings of the one we’re seeking to help will provide both a connection with the recipient and a receptivity on their part to accept our offer.
Author, Therapist, and Life Coach, Shannon L. Alder was right when she wrote, “One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
Our help, however, should never be about us. It ought not to be given to further our interest, earn accolades, or make another feel indebted to us.
While some folks live their lives in pursuit of personal pleasure, self-aggrandizement or aloof isolation, it’s well to remember that we’re put on earth to glorify God and serve others.
Emerson was on the mark when he wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman