I Like the Idea of Helping Those in Need
His disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” Matthew 15:23
I generally think of myself as a pretty good guy. I try to help those struggling with addiction and I visit jail for a Bible Study/Recovery Meeting once a week. I must admit that it made me a little anxious at first, but I’ve grown to very much enjoy jail. I genuinely like the guys I meet, and I’ve come to call them brothers and friends.
A good friend – and fellow jail visitor – once asked me after Sunday morning Bible study what I would do if an inmate showed up on my doorstep, looking for help, after being released. I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m happy to meet anyone in jail. I gladly give of my time and kindness . . . when it’s on my terms, in a in a safe place, and well-distanced from my personal space. I want to help others, but I don’t want it to affect my life too much.
I view helping those in need like I view eating a healthy diet. It’s a good idea. I want to do it – when I feel like it. I’ll do it when it’s on my terms, in comfortable conditions. I’ll eat healthy before noon, and I’ll visit those in jail from 8-9AM on Sunday mornings. Don’t ask me to do anything uncomfortable though. And don’t ask me to get too close to those in need. I’ve got boundaries.
The disciples had a somewhat similar experience in today’s passage. In the story, a gentile woman came begging for Jesus to heal her daughter. The disciples were irritated. She wasn’t a Jew and she was disruptive, crying out repeatedly for help. What the disciples saw as an annoyance though, Jesus saw as faith. “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly (Matthew 15:28).
Loving our neighbors and helping those in need is rarely the easy, comfortable thing to do. Giving often requires selflessness and sacrifice. Paradoxically though, it is when we are selfish with our time, money, and love that we are the poorest. It is in loving others and doing God’s will that we are enriched. Loving those in need isn’t easy, but it’s God’s will, which means it’s the path to true life, faith, and recovery.