Topic #10 – Giving vs Helping

Posted: December 21, 2007 in serving others

“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat forever.”

Matthew 19:21 – Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

I think a lot about my lack of giving or service or help to those in need (aka – “the poor”). Anytime in my life where I’ve given or served freely, I’ve always been blessed and so thankful for the opportunity to help. Yet I do so little. I’m serious…SO little. I’m so concerned with my own life, my own time, my own needs, and my own happiness that I simply block out the needs of others. It’s sad.

But I’ve also been thinking a lot about the difference between “giving” and “helping”. It’s so easy to give. Take donations to Goodwill. Put in a little extra offering. Support a local charity with a monthly check. Even serving food in a shelter to the homeless. All good things, but all pretty easy and non-invested types of things.

I came across this story recently. I don’t know if it’s wholly true or not, but I think it probably is. It really brings to light the vast difference between “giving” and “helping” people in need.

It’s easy to give someone money….but how do we HELP that person learn better work skills, earn more money and manage it more wisely? It’s easy to donate food to a pantry. But how do we connect with families in need of food and HELP them get off their feet and provide for themselves? It’s easy to see someone on Sunday at church who is struggling with finances, marriage, their job, sin, or a broken down car and to be nice to them and tell them we’re praying for them, but how do we HELP this person work through the situation and come out better on the other side?

Again, as usual, I don’t have much in the way of answers. Just a continued struggle. It’s just frustrating to see Christians and the church miss the mark so often when it comes to helping those who need it most. We all work more, do more, drive more, commit to more, have a hundred responsibilities a week, and are left with almost no time leftover to truly invest ourselves in the lives of others. We like the concept of serving, but don’t understand the application of it.

I’m praying that God might give me clarity and opportunity in this area. I’m tired of being stressed and busy and all about me. Life is not very fruitful or satisfying without serving others in need. And I don’t want to be 68 years old and “retired” before I realize it. Please pray about how we all might serve/help others daily. Jesus lived it. He taught it. He commanded it. It’s ultimately what our lives on earth are all about once we’ve been saved.

1 John 3:17-19 (The Message) This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

  1. Blake Anthony says:

    True dat yo!!!

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