When you are a recipient of God’s help, he wants you to share it with others. He wants you to be a helper to those who are hurting around you. He wants you to care about others and share the blessings God has given you.
Tony Campolo is a well-known preacher and teacher whose heart was changed as a result of unexpected generosity from a man who had desperate needs of his own. Tony tells of a time when he was walking down Chesterton Street in Philadelphia. A homeless man with a dirty overcoat and a long matted beard with bits of food stuck in it was sitting on a bench. His clothes were dirty and he was drinking from a paper cup.
The guy called out to Tony, “Hey, mister, you want some of my coffee?” “That’s alright, but thank you, err, that’s kind of you but…” Then Tony thought, “That’s wrong.” So he said, “I’ll take a sip.” So he drank some of the coffee. Then he said to the homeless man, “You are getting pretty generous giving away your coffee. What’s gotten into you?”
The man replied, “Well, the coffee was especially delicious today, and I figured that when God gives you something good, you ought to share it with other people.”
Tony Campolo said, “Well, is there anything I can give you?” He thought the man would ask him for five dollars. The man said, “Yeah, you could give me a hug.” There in the heart of Philadelphia this well-dressed, respected worldwide speaker put his arms around the dirty, homeless man and hugged him. The man was overwhelmed with the touch of another human being, so he held on to Tony and wouldn’t let him go. People were passing by on the street starting at this amazing site.
Tony Campolo said, “My embarrassment little by little turned to reverence and awe as I realized this was not just a homeless man in my arms/ I heard a voice saying, ‘I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you cared for me.’ I was in need and you helped me. I was homeless and you hugged me.”*
Showing compassion and kindness to people in need around you portrays the love of Christ. It isn’t often easy or comfortable, but the gift of time, energy or money can bring help and hope to those in need.
What has God given to you that you can share with someone living in extreme poverty?
Maybe he’s given you compassion and interest, and you need to learn more about how you can personally get involved to help. Perhaps you have financial resources that you could use to support programs in remote villages or urban slums that are offering people a way to better themselves. God may have given you a platform that you can use to advocate for the needs of the extreme poor, or even influence to enlist others to join in the cause. Or maybe you are a prayer warrior, and can petition our Heavenly Father on behalf of those living in need. Whatever he has given you, look for ways that you can give it back, remembering Matthew 25:40, “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’