“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”
– Proverbs 3:27
There is an entirely selfless dimension to the Christian faith. That dimension is deeply rooted in one’s lifelong pursuit of spiritual maturity. This important aspect of authentic discipleship – is servanthood. A Christian disciple’s lifestyle will automatically be marked by inner joy, increased service, and decreased self-absorption. As we become aware of the vast sea of human need around us, our role is to first glance at these innumerable problems while keeping our gaze firmly fixed on Christ! Worry is the unsanctified response to need which pleases our enemy. Prayer, requesting God’s specific provision, guidance, and wisdom is what heaven expects from seasoned disciples. Intercession is to be our immediate spiritual response to the overwhelming human challenges which face us. Dwell on the Lord’s uplifting instruction – “…Don’t worry about your life … but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry…” (Matthew 6:25a, 33-34a) Life without continual worry requires an elevated awareness of the Holy Spirit’s power. The word deserve used by Solomon in Proverbs 3:27 carries the added weight of sanctified common sense.
Giving your time literally equates with investing your life. However, doing “good” can include a wide range of human kindness including generosity. Our Father’s teaching pertaining to a dedicated believer’s lifestyle is very specific. But, it is not always what we might expect. As an example, we are told that our neighbors may or may not prove to be deserving; however, if they are, then His instruction could not be plainer. The Bible says, “Do not say to your neighbor, go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it, when you [already] have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:28) The admonition here is to act immediately, especially when the good you could accomplish is readily available. You will need to ask for discernment to determine whom to help first because human need is literally everywhere. As the Lord said, “You will always have the poor with you…” (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8)
Are you already asking God to make you an unselfish caring person? If so, begin thinking about the people whom He has already placed in your sphere of influence. Did they arrive in your neighborhood faithless, profane, doubtful, discouraged, addicted, or immoral? If so, then by faith you can take their arrival as a complement. Why? Because God is expressing His confidence in your willingness to participate in meeting their spiritual needs. He said, “You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13) and, there is simply no authentic brand of detached Christian discipleship!
When a neighbor needs your time, or the benefit of your God given talents or abilities, that becomes your opportunity to point him or her to the Savior. This is when your kindness, counsel, and sacrifice become the embodiment of – His love! This is how the Lord taught us to inject real meaning into life’s hum-drum daily activities. He personally modeled the ministry of love by meeting the needs of the believers and seekers around Him – all day long. He lived – giving!
Today, as you pray for the opportunity to share your faith, don’t neglect your neighbors. Pause for a few minutes and thoughtfully evaluate their circumstances. How much do you actually know about them? Consider your gifts and abilities. What can you offer them in Jesus’ name? What will help meet their felt needs? Think like a Martha and let practical service become a core value in your witness.