Helping People: The not-so-hidden benefits of Christian service By Debra Torres
The truck was packed with items that would help my son’s new dorm room seem more like home.
And we approached it with a bit of dread. With only two adults to do the unloading, the task before us was a bit daunting.
And we knew that we were in for several trips up to his suite.
I thought about it and inwardly sighed. The work, I guessed, was par for this new college mom. We would get it done – however long it took.
“Need some help?” a voice piped up from behind.
“Can I give you a hand?” came another.
I turned to see the smiling faces of several college students descending upon us. They made friendly small talk with my son, grabbed items from the back of our truck and walked with my son inside.
I marveled at the empty vehicle as I stayed behind to lock up.
Wow, that was exactly what we needed. What a welcome!
It felt good to have so many people help us that day, but I think its important to note that it probably felt even better to those who did the helping.
You see, there’s a strange and wonderful thing that happens to us when we help others.
You would think we’d get tired and maybe even a little cranky from the extra work.
But instead, we are blessed.
In Acts 20:35, Paul quotes Jesus when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Often I think about this scripture at Christmastime and in reference to giving gifts. But you know, the Jews in Jesus’ time didn’t celebrate Christmas, and I’m thinking that our Lord was talking about more than just gift giving in his quote.
Mary* was depressed and something had happened in her life that threatened to deepened her depression even more.
When she came to me for prayer, I thought of the principle of the helping hand. I knew that if Mary could put herself in a situation where she could help others, her depression might make a change for the better.
And so I prayed that way.
But I think Mary couldn’t see through her wall of despair and corrected me in my praying asking me to refocus on her depression needs.
Now Mary’s not alone in her thinking is she?
Often, I think we focus on our problems so much that we overlook solutions that could make us feel better.
I read a sweet article the other day by Marlene Alexander that was first published in "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul."
It was about Marlene’s teenaged daughter, Corrie, who also suffered from depression. Marlene and her husband, John, loved Corrie very much and hated to see her go through such a difficult time.
And it was a birthday kitten that began to help turn Corrie around.
Marlene says this about what that little kitten did for her daughter: “God gave John and I the miracle we were seeking in the form of a tiny multi-colored ball of fur. Corrie no longer moaned, 'I'm so depressed!' Instead, it was a joyful, 'Mom, I love this kitty so much!' She slept less during the day, ate better, suffered fewer headaches and her marks (grades) started to improve. More than a year later, just the mention of her pet's name still puts a contented grin on our daughter's face. Corrie calls Cloe her 'fuzzy angel' and it seems an apt description.”
Wow! Who would have thought that having a kitten in your life could help so much?
And I’m sure that as Corrie cared for her kitten, she was blessed. Jesus’ principle on giving holds here as well, doesn’t it?
Do you feel a little down today?
I’m guessing that there’s probably someone in your circle who could use a helping hand.
Maybe it’s a cheery voice on the other end of the phone. A meal, a cut lawn or a loaf of zucchini bread.
Whatever it is, I know that it will help make someone’s day.
And by giving, it just might be your own.
*Mary’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
James 2:14-17New International Version
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 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? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Acts 20:35-36English Standard Version
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.