One of the things I’ve been deeply convicted of the past few years is the way I handle people who are suffering around me. Say someone posts on Facebook that they are sick or have a need. How do I respond? I used to just blow past that in the busyness of life, thinking “I’ll pray about that later” or “poor so-and-so, that stinks.” But the Lord sent me some amazing faithful friends who lived differently, who acted on their faith constantly and met needs and ministered to others, and I wanted to live more like them – more like Jesus. It changed me.
Now when I see someone hurting, I try to stop – I try to be the church and meet a need, maybe even get to be Jesus with skin to that person. First off, I’ll say “I’m praying” and I stop at that moment and actually pray – lifting that need to the Father (trying to make myself less of a liar when I inevitably forget the need later). But second, I try to think of a practical thing I can do to lift their burden. Can I bring a meal? Can I pick up a kid or send you a book or note to encourage your heart? If it is a ministry, can I send supplies or give a gift? And I try to do that quickly too. Commit right then to do something, and do it then, before I can forget.
It takes a few minutes, but when I am faithful to do it – I’m telling you I get blessed. And we can’t out-give God – he always provides. This is a completely true story of how God provided for us last year when we were learning to live with open hands. It started when we were given a huge Christmas blessing including quite a bit of cash. After paying bills, we had $300 remaining. We heard of a friend who needed $300 to pay their electric bill, and we gave it to them. We just felt like the money wasn’t ours to begin with, since it had been given to us, so why not share it? A few weeks later, when we were faced with some medical bills, a friend of mine asked me to coffee (someone also going through a difficult financial struggle). Without knowing about our gift to our friend, she slid an envelope over to me across the table with $300 in cash inside the envelope because she and her husband felt the Lord had told them to bless us. A few weeks later, someone dropped an envelope on those friends’ front porch with a little over $300 inside it. That money transferred hands four times meeting needs exactly when it was needed, that we know of. It freaks me out it’s so cool. It taught us a HUGE lesson.
So we give – even when we don’t have much to give. And God provides. We have loved taking meals to friends. We have loved meeting simple basic needs for ministries on the ground around the world. I do the graphics for a ministry in Kenya that houses young pregnant women and helps them with prenatal and postnatal needs so they can keep their babies and not have to give them up for adoption, and that was all because I saw a tweet that they needed help and over a year later, I’m still partnering with them whenever possible.
In addition, we have started following several ministries on Facebook and Twitter, especially since the Haiti earthquake, so we can know what they need and pray and maybe help meet those needs. One of the ministries we follow is Real Hope for Haiti – a clinic and outreach center a few hours north of Port-au-Prince Haiti. A few months ago they posted a need for a baby scale for their clinic. I reached out and purchased a scale off Amazon, had it shipped along with a few other basic pieces of medical equipment to Miami, and the ministry sent me pictures this week of the supplies we sent being used to treat the beautiful people of Haiti.
This was a simple thing – I think the whole thing cost us maybe $150 bucks. But look at where it went! That is an investment that pays dividends forever.
I know many of you who read this have a huge heart for the world, and like me, you love meeting practical needs. Real Hope for Haiti is getting ready to ship a massive container of supplies from Indiana to Haiti to help the poor and hurting. They have set up a Walmart Wishlist with things like baby powder and orajel on it (some things cost just a few dollars) and we can partner with them to meet these simple needs. In addition, they are gathering money to ship the container. If you want to be a part of a simple solution to bless someone who needs it, click here.
Let’s be the church. Let’s obey Jesus. And let’s see the miracles pour forth.