By Paul W Hoffmaster -
One of the great joys in life is finding a need and meeting it. There are many hurting people who simply need a listening ear or a quiet presence. Others issue a cry for tangible evidence that needs to be supplied. Needs for financial and materialistic assistance are petitioned to God with the hope that God would hear the cries and provide. There are people who have no friends or even relatives with whom they can share their feelings and emotions. In some cases, the closest thing the neglected can hope for is the verbalized assurance by a disconnected Christian that he will pray for them. Not to minimize prayer, but there needs to be more than prayer, at least to the suffering individual. To neglect the hurting who is suffering both physically and emotionally is to commit the sin of omission.
Have you ever wondered how God answers prayer? We know that many times it is through other people. Have you ever had a nudging in your heart that you needed to go see someone or drop a note to an individual? How about that urge to pay a bill that someone owes? What about bringing some groceries to a family whose husband has lost his job? It is amazing how God chooses to answer prayer. You have a Christian praying to be a blessing, while at the same time someone is praying for a blessing, and God brings the answer to both requests at the same time.
Another interesting thing about finding a need and meeting it, is that many of the needs are within the Body of Christ. There are many Christians who are struggling with some of the same issues that the world displays (don’t judge). Just because a person attends church, it does not mean they are not lonely or feel isolated and neglected. So many Believers migrate to their little groups on Sunday morning and do not notice the individual that is trying to get in touch with God, but who, because of burdens and heartaches, cannot reach out. What about the shut-in that can’t get to worship? When is the last time we reached out? It seems the larger the congregation, the greater the chance of not recognizing the needs of others. Every Church needs to “care” about their brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is totally unacceptable to have hurting individuals in the Church and no one recognizes the fact. Some Christians seem so preoccupied with supporting missionaries that they fail to be a support to those within the community of believers that have a need.
In the book of Acts, we see the community of believers living out the Gospel. If there was a lack within the “church,” people sold possessions and brought the proceeds from the sale to the assembly, and then “distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (Acts 4: 34,35) When is the last time Christians took that kind of action in meeting the needs of their brothers and sisters?
What is comes down to is how much do we love each other? I have heard over my years in ministry people say how they could not stand someone. I have seen people who attend the same church and have not spoken to each other in three years. Christians need to be healers, not inflictors. We need to unfold our arms and reach out to those in need. Our tongues need to speak love, not ill will. Our ears need to hear the call of the wounded, and we need to reach out with a loving and compassionate hand of healing.