Everybody wants to do something to help, but nobody wants to be first.
Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket. Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting. (Proverbs 3:27-29)
Your hand is God's hand - can we just ponder that one for a moment or two? What was the last thing your hand did for someone other than yourself? It goes without saying, we may deny ourselves very little, all the while oblivious to the need that could be right there next to us. Never walk away - that is a pretty direct command, but I will be the first to admit, I've done it. If it is within our ability, why don't we take the next step and meet the need? Maybe it is like Bailey said and we don't want to be the one to take the 'first step'.
I know some will focus on the words "deserves help" in this passage but let me be the first to warn us against judging who 'deserves' our help. Yes, I am very sensitive to the fact there are a lot of people with signs on street corners who are neither homeless nor out of work. Perhaps I am a little 'skeptical' that every 'reported need' isn't really a reality these days as there are many who have found this 'panhandling gig' pays better than getting a 9-5 job. There are ways to meet the needs of those with genuine need - we may just have to be a little more sensitive to hear God's urging and a bit more willing to do what he asks of us.
If our hand is God's hand, where should that hand be 'employed' today? This is the real question set forth in our passage. It isn't 'if we see a need' - it is 'when we see that need'. There will always be needs we can meet, but we may not immediately recognize them. Have you ever received a note from someone telling you how much your words meant to them when they were going through something in their lives? How about hearing someone recount something you had done kind of 'spur of the moment' and telling you how much that met a specific need? You were being God's hand and probably didn't even know it.
We might not think of this passage as one of God's 'major commands', like the Ten Commandments outlined in the Old Testament. Love your neighbor is a pretty consistent command throughout all of scripture and was the one command Jesus modeled as he walked this earth. Love God and love others - worship God and help others. This is the crux of all the commandments. Just sayin!
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