Talk about a time when you helped someone who was less fortunate than yourself. How did you help them?
My Story and the Bible Story
My youth group went to serve lunch at a homeless shelter when I was a teenager. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wanted to help. We began by helping prepare the food and by making sandwiches for the people to take with them when they left. I was happy being in the kitchen preparing things, but I felt uncomfortable being around the homeless. Then, I was asked to go into the dining room and refill glasses of tea. I was nervous, but I went. And as I went around refilling glasses, I saw people who were grateful for a meal. I saw that I didn’t need to be afraid, because they were people just like me. I came to one man, and when I asked him if he’d like a refill, he said yes, and he handed me a Christmas card. These were cards that he sold to earn money, and he was giving me what he had to say thank you. All these years later, I still remember that Christmas card. Even though I was the one helping him, this man taught me an important lesson about the homeless. He helped me see past my fear so that I could help.
Read Matthew 25:31-46.
Sometimes we are afraid to help others. Sometimes we just don’t want to help. But Jesus reminds us of how important it is to God that we help others. In this passage, Jesus tells us that everyone is created by God and that when we help people who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, shivering, sick, and in prison, it is like we are helping God. Can you imagine that? It’s like we’re helping God when we care for other people. We please God by caring for others. God cares about us and what happens to us. God cares about each person God created. As a result, God cares about what happens to them. So when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give clothes to those who need them, give a place to stay to those who have none, help someone who is sick, and care for someone in jail, we are doing it all for God.
God gives us gifts and abilities to do God’s work and also gives us resources so that we can help others. We can keep everything we have for ourselves, or we can use it to help others. We can ignore the needs around us and, in doing so, ignore God. Or we can help the people around us and, in doing so, help God. The choice is ours. When we love God and love our neighbors, we are doing what God commands us to do. Part of that is caring for the needs of the people around us. It’s almost Thanksgiving, a time when we remember all the things for which we are thankful. Look for someone you can help. This is one way you can thank God for all the blessings God has given you.
Discussion and Prayer
- Ask your children about ways that they have helped others in the last few weeks.
- What are some things you are thankful for? How can you use them to help others?
- Talk about specific ways that your family can help people around you. Choose one way to help others this week.
- Pray, giving thanks for the many blessings God has given you and asking God to open your eyes to the needs around you.
Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.