Photo posted by Branimir Balogović on Unsplash
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18 KJV
I’d venture to say that most of us hear the phrase “How can I help you” most often when starting some form of customer service request. It’s a phrase that can easily be loved or hated depending on the type of experience you expect to have. But how often have you yourself used the phrase? If you say it often, who are you usually speaking to? Family? Friends? Random strangers? Do you say it at your job? Dig deep. What is the motive behind your question? Are you expecting something in return? Do you feel obligated or is it a genuine desire to help?
This past week I was reminded that the act of love is not just ministering with words. God has provided me personally with multiple ways to help others. Sometimes it means giving money. Other times it is offering time. Regardless of the type of help required, the scripture above makes it clear: do something to demonstrate your love.
A quick google search reveals that in 2019, 1.5 out of every 10 Americans were in poverty. Based on the year we had in 2020, I’d expect that number to go up. That statistic may sound bad (imagining for every 10 people you see, one of them is in a money crunch), but I’d say there is another number that’s much worse. Reading the ratio a different way suggests there is potentially 8.5 people available to help someone who is in poverty. Think about that.
There is potentially 8.5 people available to help someone who is in poverty.
I bring this up because I often struggle with the idea that “I simply can’t help everyone”, and that thought tends to prevent me from helping even ONE person when given the opportunity. How do I choose who I help? If I help Avery, who’s going to help Beverly? Or an even worse, If I help Avery, who’s going to help me? By the time I’ve filtered through these ideas, the opportunity to help someone is already gone and I’m left thinking “why didn’t I just do SOMETHING?”.
But these thoughts are easily challenged when I think just how blessed we truly are. I say we because if you are reading this blog post, you likely have some type of personal smart device and internet connection. Who doesn’t? Well, there ARE some who even right now can’t pay for their own internet service because it’s either that or electricity. You might even be reading this while you’re having your second or third meal of the day. Don’t we all? Well again, there are some who are thinking can I eat today at all?
Believe me, I understand we are not made of money and often feel we don’t have extra money to give. I get that there is only 24 hours in a day and between work and life we seemingly have no time to lend a helping hand (free of charge). What I want to convey is that we have resources we can budget. Find at least 1 hour a week you can devote to serving someone else. Or budget just 10 dollars a month to give to someone in need or to a cause created for that purpose. Love not just in word, but in the things you can do.