Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Tim Bogert, and Vincent Martell wrote a song called “People” made famous by Barbra Streisand. In the song are the lyrics, “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. ”
Jesus commands us in Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (NIV). The reason for this commandment is He knows our hearts. People are selfish. They tend to put their own needs ahead of others. But this is not the way Jesus calls us to live. If we do as He commands and love others as we love ourselves, we will put them first. Loving people often takes the form of helping others. I would urge you to help others often.
It is important that if you offer to help a person in advance, then do not make excuses to back out. I do not mean every now and then you may not have a legitimate reason. However, you should not have an excuse every time you have committed to helping another person. Rodd Thunderheart said, “You are only as good as your word.”
Also, it is often important when you help someone, even if it is an inconvenience to you, to not let the person know you are inconvenienced. They have enough on their plate without feeling guilty for needing some help.
When you know a person has a need they can’t fulfill and you can, I highly encourage you pray about sacrificing yourself in order to fulfill their need. It could be a monetary or time sacrifice. Time is often harder to give than money, so do not underestimate the value of it. This is not to say you should completely forget yourself. Take care of your primary needs by spending time with God and fulfilling your immediate responsibilities. However, this does mean that you should offer a helping hand where you can. This could take the form of getting up a little earlier one day or skipping that movie you planned to watch. Remember that no person on their deathbed has ever said, “I wish I was less helpful. I really should have loved others a little less.”
Unexpected help is the best kind. When you see an elderly person struggling with groceries on the subway, offer to help them. Even if it goes unnoticed here on earth, you will be rewarded in Heaven. They may offer money, but I would encourage you not to take it in most circumstances: just help. And do it with a smile. James 2:16 states, “If one of you says to them, Go in peace; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (NIV). This verse points to the importance of physical help and not just spiritual help.
Here are a few ways in which you could help others and show love.
- Buy the meal of a family with little kids you see at the restaurant you are dining in. Do it anonymously.
- When you see a person is being bullied, stand up for that person.
- Take a home-cooked meal to a neighbor so they can have a night off without having to spend money going out to eat.
- Perhaps you could babysit unpaid for a married couple so they can have some time together.
- Offer to carry something when you see someone struggling near you with groceries or other objects.
- MOST OF ALL, just be open to helping and quick to jump in. Don’t talk yourself out of it by saying, “They don’t really need me.” Be quick to self-sacrifice.
What other ways can you think of to help and show love to people?