To Help or Not

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Hebrews 13:2 NLT

To help or not to help, that was the question.

He stood at a busy intersection, holding a sign we couldn’t read. Although the town where we live is modest in size, recently we’ve seen more homeless and indigent people standing on corners in and around our local restaurants and retailers.

As we pulled from one parking lot after our meal, my wife and I strained our necks but couldn’t read his sign. After visiting the pharmacy to pick up medicine, we passed the man again on our way home.

“I’m gonna circle around to see what the sign says,” my wife remarked.

I was glad. Of late, we’ve been paying it forward. Perhaps this was another opportunity. We neared the gentleman, but noticed he didn’t look like other people we’d seen requesting help.

The man’s sign read, “Trying desperately to help my family. Waiting for my disability check.” He didn’t appear disabled, but then again, many who are don’t. We pulled to the stop sign next to him. My wife said nothing.

“What do you think?” I finally asked.

“I don’t feel the tug,” she said. And we drove on.

God places opportunities in our path on a regular basis. More if we’ll ask Him too. But we can’t take advantage of every good opportunity, nor does God expect us to. I’m not a wealthy man. Even Jesus, with all of heaven’s riches at His disposal, didn’t heal every sickness or meet the needs of every person who wanted His help. There were times when He left the crowds to pray to His heavenly Father or to move to another region.

Knowing which helping opportunity God wants us to take advantage of takes prayer. This helps us look and listen with spiritual eyes and ears. We must ask God to send the opportunities, but we must also ask Him to let us see them. Busyness and selfishness cause us to miss them.

The tug my wife mentioned is what we refer to as God’s Spirit. We both feel it when it’s an opportunity God wants us to take. It’s an overwhelming pressure to intervene—a feeling of guilt when we let the opportunity slip by.

Ask God to show you the situations where He wants you to intervene. You can’t do it all, but you can do something.

Prayer: Father, guide us to those people and situations where You want us to help.

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