Give a Man a Fish …
Who am I supposed to help ? Who has God put in my path? Who will I be “the only Jesus someone might see”?
I think back on a time in my life when a young woman knocked on my door asking me to help her get back on her feet. I had taught Lucy in Sunday school some ten years earlier and this time she came with a great deal of baggage; she had some mental struggles and certainly didn’t understand the importance of personal hygiene. She was a very heavy smoker and had quite a large vocabulary of words that my mother certainly would have washed my mouth out with soap had I mistakenly used just one. It was winter and Lucy needed help to get her gas turned on. She needed groceries for her children and coats to keep them warm. She didn’t have water and needed someone to help with the rent. The list went on.
With all that we did do, I didn’t really help her.
I had given Lucy a fish. I helped her in the moment. But I possessed the only thing that could have made a permanent change in her life and I withheld it. I could have introduced her to Jesus. The truth is I was probably a little too prideful or immature or maybe I believed the lies of the enemy that she would never really change. My actions said that I didn’t really believe God could change Lucy’s heart like He had mine. I could have told her about my Jesus… But I didn’t.
Acts 16 tells us about the fortune-teller slave girl who followed Paul around annoying he and Silas, as they were busy about The Lord’s business… spreading the Gospel. Paul allowed this slave girl to follow them for a few days before he rebuked the spirit in her and set her free. What it does NOT say is that Paul set her up in a rental, got her gas and water turned on, fed her kids, and clothed them all. No, he set her free and introduced her to his best friend, Jesus. Her life was never the same.
Jesus said, whatever you do for one of the least of these, you do for me. We are called to feed the hungry. People care what you know when they know that you care. I cared, I helped Lucy and her children but I stopped one step shy. God had set me up for success and I dropped the ball. Lucy pulled out in the middle of the night not long after that. Don’t get me wrong; I know that God is bigger than I am. God can certainly put Lucy in the path of another Christian who will do like Paul and help set her free by telling her about Jesus. After all He put me in the path of Christians.
As I look back on these few weeks of my life, my take away is… God did bring Lucy into my life for me to help her but not just with her physical needs. Physical is temporary. Spiritual is eternal.
~ ~ ~
Have you ever helped someone? Has God put someone in your life with real needs? What about through a Serve Project? What did you learn? Come share with us on our blog. We’d love to hear from you! ~ Cindy