So when you give to the needy...
Matthew 6: 2(a)
Last month, I saw a Christmas movie in which one of the main characters played the role of a community benefactor who was going to die soon. In one of the scenes, trying to train the person who would take his place after his death, the benefactor tells her: "Everyone needs something." Is that not the truth? We all need something. Perhaps that is why Jesus in Matthew 6:2 did not tell the people, “If you give”, but “When you give”.
Both the movie and the verse made me think of a time in my life when a couple of friends taught me a great lesson concerning giving. I had lost my job. My friends blessed me financially, but they saw beyond my financial need and blessed me with what I needed most. They gave me love and support. In no way I am minimizing their financial blessing, but the time they invested in me from their extremely busy schedules, the kindness they showed me, and the words of affirmation they gave me, meant more than gold to me.
You see, at the time I did not know that what my friends were doing was intentional. I did not know that one of their lives' objectives is "to bring love where love has been absent." My friends do not just give to give. They supply for the needs they see. Which, as one of them told me later, requires closeness. To know truly what the people around us need, we must be willing to reach out to them. We need to get close to them. We may even have to get in the mud with them.
To do what Jesus told us to do, which is to bless those in need, we need to know who are the needy around us, and what those people truly need. It is easy to bless the homeless because their needs are obvious, but sometimes we work, go to school, or live near people whose needs might not be as obvious, but are just as big.
If we are Christ's followers, we must bless others, but with the present challenges we are all experiencing, we must give more than money. We still need to bless the poor but we must do more than that. Let us love the unloved, spend time with the lonely, and give people who have made mistakes a chance to make amends.
Now more than ever, we must spread goodness like a sick child spreads germs. We must spread it everywhere. Sometimes it is easier to give money than time, but the people around us might need love and attention more than money. Let us get close enough to people to see what they need, and once we find out, let us take the time and make the effort to bring love to every area of that life where love has been absent.