Being wise in your helping of others
By Chaplain Dan Langerock
Everyone needs help at one time or another in their lives, but how can you know when and how to help someone? There are so many ways we can help others, but knowing the right way is very important. Here are a few pointers to help you in your quest:
If you look at the life of Jesus and the apostles, you will notice that many times the felt needs of a person were addressed before their other needs were met. For example, in the book of Acts a beggar was sitting at the gate of the temple trying to get enough to live on by asking for money. The felt need of this person was money to get along another day. He was lame so he could not work, but this was the only way he knew how to make a living. He thought money was going to be given but God had a better idea. God healed him so he could now join society as a productive citizen and make a living for himself and possibly his family also.
Jesus met a man who had been waiting for thirty- eight years to be healed but he couldnít get to the pool in time when the opportunity was presented. His felt need was to be helped into the pool at the proper time, but his real need was to be healed by the power of God. The people you meet as you go about your day have many needs: grief, monetary, psychological, and many more. By caring enough to observe the person a few minutes and perhaps ask a timely question, you can ascertain what this person needs.
If someone is lonely, you can be a friend to them, and at the same time teach them how to have more friends. Donít let them monopolize your life with their need, but be there when it is essential with encouragement and other means that God will show you. Sometimes the need is so great that it just drains everyone around them. This is when Godís wisdom is needed to truly help the person in the way that will benefit them the most. The answer may not show itself right away, but as you interact with this person you will see what their true need is, so you can pray about how to fill their prescription, so to speak.
You may not be the one who actually meets that urgent need, but you may be a catalyst to get the answer through other means. Your job may be to plant a seed of hope or encouragement that will take root later on in their life. .
Does the person really want help or do they just want to complain about it? This was why Jesus asked the man in the story above whether he wanted to be healed. Did he truly want what Jesus had to offer him or was he content to lay there for many more years to come? You can also determnine this by observing and listening to the person, but if not, go ahead and ask the question as God leads you. Maybe no one has ever asked them about this before and it may help them to hear it.
If they know their behavior is destructive, yet continue doing it, you will know that a more creative means to help them is needed, perhaps seeking professional help. You cannot always see the end result of your helping but you can be a friend and get the process started if they truly want relief from their distress.
The key to helping is to care enough to interact and let God work through you. If you were in need, wouldnít you want someone to care enough to help? Donít let past failures deter you from trying. God will use you greatly if you will care enough to try. God uses ordinary people like you and I to meet extraordinary needs. Do it with the idea of glorifying God and not for accolades of mankind, and you will be blessed. .