Have you ever been in need and not know where to turn? Have been approached by a homeless person and struggled with what to do? Do you ask yourself what God wants you to do? The answer doesn’t come easy, does it?
Many of us have been approached by someone on the street at one point or another asking for something to eat. Unfortunately, we often discover they don’t really want you to give them something to eat, they want you to give them money. We immediately wonder if it is a scam.
Scams have happened so often, whether against us or someone we know, that we are immediately skeptical when someone asks for money. We have all heard stories, or may have one of our own, of someone scamming them for money. The scammers make it harder for those who are truly in need. How are we to handle these situations?
First, we can offer to provide a meal. Second, we can educate ourselves about the services available to those in need. There are numerous organizations that can provide assistance. Those organizations have case workers who are trained to determine the need. They work with each individual or family to provide the assistance needed. Point people in need to them.
But what if the person in need is a member of our church? That makes a difference, doesn’t it? We know the person, or someone else in the church knows them. We are called to help them. As a body of Christ, we are to provide for one another. We may still need to point them to other organizations to provide long-term assistance, but we should provide for their immediate needs.
Much like our physical families, we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Here is where some misunderstand what the Bible says. True, all are children of God, but all are not brothers and sisters in Christ. This becomes tough. Outsiders will attempt to shame us into taking care of everyone. Yet, we are instructed to take care of those in the body of Christ first.
Today’s passage can be misunderstood. The point James makes is, we are not to send a fellow Christian away without taking care of their physical needs, if we have the ability to do so. This speaks to selfishness. We are to be willing to give our fellow Christian the shirt off our back.
I pray we all desire to help our brothers and sisters. I pray we ask for discernment from God. I pray each one of us gives up our selfishness when we see a fellow Christian in need. Educate yourself about assistance organizations. Be willing to help a brother or sister. Take care of fellow Christians. Ask God for discernment.
James 2:15-16 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 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?