On any given day, how many people do you see in need?
Someone selling the Big Issue in the high street? A couple of people sat on the side of the pavement, with their hats turned out? Or maybe a busker, singing his heart out with his guitar case open wide and laying at his feet.
Sometimes it's hard to know how to help others in these situations, because we know they need so much and we're unable to give it all.
But I want to encourage you that when you feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of need in our world - start now and start small.
In your smallest circle of friends I can almost guarantee there is someone who needs something that God has given you the tools to provide to them.
Today's verse, Proverbs 31:20 (AMP) says this:
'She opens and extends her hand to the poor,
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.'
This translation makes the distinction between the actions of extending one hand and reaching out both hands. Because there is wisdom in recognising the purpose of each, in comparison to the other.
Being prepared to be able to help by reaching out - this means making an effort, parting with money/time/resources to do so. This is not as committed a gesture, it does not take the full use of our body (our whole being) but it is an attitude of being willing to give to those who need it, at any stage.
This is a fully immersed offering of concentrated effort from the giver. The whole being engages in this action. The mind, the eyes and the heart are engaged in this offering - watching the hands to see if the offering will be accepted.
This woman has people in her life who are in need. Like all of us do - our friends, family, husbands, wives and churches. These are people we extend both our hands to. Because the more concentrated the effort, the deeper the impact.
I also want to point out that this womans' hands are full. She has been given the means by God and is able to offer to others out of the wealth He has provided her.
What can you give others today? I'm sure that if you were to ask God what He's given you to offer to those in your company today, He'll show you. And I bet you already have some of these at your disposal:
- Your time.
- Your money.
- Your love.
- Your affection.
- Your prayers.
- Your trust.
- Your support.
- Your actions.
Lastly, it's important to note here that both of these gestures are questions - they require a response. We are not being shown how to give to those who aren't accepting of our help. We are not told here to exhaust and expend ourselves for those who do not appreciate or recognise our efforts.
We are merely shown how to offer help. How to ask those in need if they would like to take what we can provide. Be willing to give what you have offered - if they should accept it.