Recently my husband suffered a mini stroke without knowing it, and on his way driving home, he then had several seizures, which led to a series of accidents—fortunately no one else was involved or hurt. After a week’s stay in the hospital, he was out of work indefinitely until the neurologist could figure out if this was a rare occasion, or a newly developed seizure disorder. My husband had to file for short term disability through his job, but unfortunately, the insurance company didn’t process his application when they switched over to a new computer system. That left us nearly six whole weeks without any income whatsoever!
I had posted about our situation on facebook and tons of people offered up heartfelt prayers for us. While I really appreciated those sentiments, it didn’t change our circumstances. Why?
When we pray for others are we overlooking our role as God’s servants?
We are called to be a blessing to others. Paul said to the Philippians, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (2:4).
Today, Christians have secluded themselves from that line of thinking. In fact, we are all too often seeking our own selfish interests and forgetting that there is a whole world of hurting people out there. Yes, many of us sponsor a child in some far off land, and some of us tithe our 10% faithfully, but we then tend to overlook the people in our own lives, or our neighbors, or acquaintances we have on facebook. We think, “I’ve already given to ‘so and so’…”
During those first few weeks with Jared out of work, only one single person offered real, tangible help; the kind of help that put food on our table and helped us pay a few of our smaller bills. One person. One. But everyone was “praying” for us. They were praying for a breakthrough. For financial blessing. For our bills to somehow get paid. For food to miraculously be put on our table. All the while many who prayed forgot who had the power to help: them! We didn’t witness any miracles. We didn’t see our bills get paid, in fact, we’re now months behind and will possibly be losing our home.
God said, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to [Me] (the Lord), and [I] will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17). And He also tells us, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). And yet again, “Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land’” (Deuteronomy 15:11).
God blesses others through us. He uses us to answer prayers! So if we are lifting up prayers “Oh please help them with…” and we make no effort to be a blessing to them in return, the prayer goes unanswered. If no one is heeding the call, blessings are a thing of the past.
And you may be saying to yourself, “Well, I’m in need too, I can’t give to anyone else in need.” Well, I beg to differ with you.
I just mentioned how far in debt we are now because of those three months my husband was off through disability, but yet recently a very dear friend of mine had no money for groceries, so I gave her food from our freezer and then went to the store and spent the last $50 we had to give her things the food shelter couldn’t give her. And because she doesn’t have a car, I’ve offered to take her to her appointments. I don’t do this because I want or need something in return, nor do I do it in hopes God or the world will see it, but because I know it’s the right thing to do, even if it means it’s a sacrifice for me. I can no longer wait for the financial blessings in my life, in order to be a financial blessing for others.
Let me put it this way: Imagine if a “friend” of yours on facebook mentioned that she had no food for her family and she was truly struggling to make ends meet. What helps her most, saying you’ll pray for her, or offering her the help she needs? Sure we should pray, but shouldn’t we help, too? Who’s to say that even if you—and everyone else who may have read her post—only had $10 to offer what would happen if everyone on her friend’s list gave her $10? Imagine what a BLESSING that would be for her!! But what if someone had more to give, and someone only had a few dollars to offer? It’s still a blessing where God receives the ultimate glory! But too many people are missing out on showing God’s mercy and love.
“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him”(Proverbs 14:31).
Are you insulting your Maker, or are you honoring Him?
YOU need to be the blessing. You can’t rely on others to do what God has called YOU to do. You can’t pray for others without searching within your own heart to see what God is asking YOU to do for them.
Today: Be the blessing!