We see someone in need yet we have a million and one reasons why we can’t do something about it… The cost of living is high and we already have so many expenses… it won’t be culturally accepted to help this particular individual (given gender or social status or economic class or marital status etc) and thus it wouldn’t be a good ‘witness’ to others if we intervened in such a situation… what will others think?…
How often do we make excuses to God? If we truly examine the reasons we give to God, they are generally evolved around us – what would it cost us? Our name, our luxuries, our time, our security blankets etc etc… And often we shift the blame onto what other people would think! Do we ever pause to wonder what God would think? Does that even cross our mind or does it even matter to us? If we truly loved God and if we had the fear of God, would we not even contemplate the need and take it to the Lord in prayer?
Yes, there are indeed times we shouldn’t help as that would feed into habits of addiction or complacency and perhaps even lead them to depend on people instead of leaning on God and following His plan for their lives. So it is always good to ask God for discernment whether to intervene or not… However, let’s be honest as to why we aren’t stepping in to offer a helping hand.
Elijah was staying by the Brook Cherith, drinking its water and being fed meat and bread by the ravens. However, when the brook dried up, God told Elijah to head to a place in Sidon where a widow would supply him with food. The widow was just about to cook and eat what she thought would be her last meal as that was all she had. Here comes this prophet (I don’t think she knew who he was – well it isn’t mentioned in the Bible) and asks this particular widow for a drink and for some bread – the widow who herself was in despair. After telling her not to be afraid (as if she wouldn’t be afraid when told by a virtual stranger to share the little that she has!), Elijah gives her a Word from the LORD:
“For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
“The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land” (1 Kings 17:14).
To her credit, she went away and did as Elijah had told her… and there was indeed food every day for all of them 🙂
“For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry,
in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (17:16).
How many of us know this story? How many of us are amazed at this beautiful miracle and the act of faith of the widow? Yet how many of us would boldly share whatever we have especially when it is the last bit? Well, for that matter, how many of us would even share the crumbs and left overs after we have taken the prime share for our needs and also for our wants? Why is it that we claim we trust in God and we believe the incidents that took place in the Bible, yet we don’t want to exercise it today? Why do we make so many other excuses? Is it really because of other people or is it because of a lack of genuine faith or is it due to selfishness or are they legitimate reasons?
During the sermon on the mount, Jesus Himself tells us to
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (needs) will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
The priority is clear – FIRST .. and that what you need will THEN be given.. The widow exercised this faith by first giving food to Elijah the prophet… Even in the New Testament, we read of the widow giving all that she had even though it was ‘little’. Jesus approved of her giving.
It is not enough to give God a sacrifice of praise…
“Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16)
The ‘rich’ are commanded:
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
The next time you see someone in need and you give reasons as to why you can’t, just take a few moments in prayer and ask God to give you wisdom and also for conviction to know whether they are actually reasons or excuses.
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)