26 May 2016
Reading: Proverbs 1-3; Romans 7
27 Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. 28 Don’t tell your neighbor, “Maybe some other time,” or, “Try me tomorrow,” when the money’s right there in your pocket. (Proverbs 3:27-28 MSG)
God places us in community. We’re not intended to live in isolation, like hermits in a cave in the mountains. I remember that during the years we lived in Jamaica, the needs of others were obvious and ever-present. Women came to our gate begging for food or for money to feed their children. Ragged children came to the car window at every downtown intersection. Beggars, often crippled or blind, sat by the door of the bank, the post office, and the supermarket.
The needs were obvious and overwhelming. We soon learned that we couldn’t do it all, but we could do something. We chose a few needy persons to help in a significant way rather than trying to give a meaningless dollar to everyone. We consistently asked for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we moved through our day, so that we could give a gift to meet a need even if it was outside our systematic plan.
In our community of faith and in our local and global community, God brings us into contact with others who are his hand to help us in our need and with those to whom we are God’s hand to them in their need.
Here in Bend, Oregon, USA, the needs are less obvious than on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, but just as real. Jean and I must be just as determined to have a plan for our hand to be God’s hand for others. And we must be just as sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to extend God’s hand to meet a need that is outside our plan.
I must keep my heart clean and clear and my hands open. I may be the eyes and ears and heart and hand of God to someone I encounter today. My hand may be God’s hand for the next person I meet. If I don’t have the resources to help, fine. But if I do, it’s my opportunity, my responsibility, and my privilege, to help.
Father, Please help me to be both willing and aware to see—to really see—the people I will encounter today. Help me to see as you see, to hear as you hear, and to reach out my hand as if it were your hand.