<<hold, sustain>>

We should be other-focused giving assistance as appropriate, for “Two are better than one, if one falls the other can lift him up, but he is in trouble if alone” (Eccl 4:9-12). Aaron and Hur, by supporting the arms of Moses when he prayed to God, helped achieve the victory (Ex 17:10-13). Whose ‘arms’ do I hold up? Who helps hold up my ‘arms’? Jesus said if we see another person in need and help them we are in effect doing it to Him, conversely if we don’t help we are refusing Him (Mt 25:40,45).

We have a responsibility to help meet the needs of the church, pastors, Christian workers and missionaries, besides those who are struggling in any other way (1 Cor 9:9-40; 1 Tim 5:17,18). The various means of help include financial and practical assistance, a listening ear, giving advice, a word of encouragement, or a literal shoulder to cry on. Love is

Be sensitive to the spiritual and practical needs of others

practical and must be outworked, for if we don’t do the good we should, we are sinning by omission (Jas 2:15-17, 4:17; 1 Jn 3:17,18). Often the church has failed to respond with the love of Christ to the material or physical crises that people are in, through which they may have come to salvation.  As Christians, we should be concerned about people’s spiritual state, and if we have gained an entrance into their world through attending to their physical need, they will be more receptive when the spiritual dimension is discussed (1 Cor 15:46).

Although we can’t respond to each and every genuine need we can be aware of the plight of people and may be able to point them to someone who can help. What is needed is not so much a hand out as a hand up, for giving a man a fish will feed him for a day, while teaching him to fish has the potential to feed him for a lifetime. Endeavour not to let the destructive crutch of dependency (reliance on another, not being able or willing to undertake manageable tasks on their own) become a mindset but encourage self-sufficiency which bolsters self-esteem, healthy responsibility and appropriate independence (doing for themselves and minding their own affairs).

We all should develop our own strong network of friends, with the freedom of willingly giving and humbly receiving according to the supply and need, besides sharing in the privileges and responsibilities of society in mutual cooperation and interdependence (1 Sam 30:24; 2 Cor 8:14). We all live in community to some degree, and should practice the golden rule of doing for others what we’d  like them to do for us as we journey with them (Lk 6:31; Phil 2:4). If they are unable or unwilling to help do not condemn or withdraw from them but endeavour to maintain good relationships with them.

No one is exempt from Satan’s attacks for he targets our vulnerable areas besides the isolated or weak Christians who are discouraged and not in a caring relationship with other believers (Heb 10:25; 1 Pet 5:8). We are to bear one another’s burdens, supporting those who are weak and so fulfilling the ‘law’ of Christ – who lovingly acted on our behalf when we couldn’t help ourselves (Rom 15:1; 1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2).

See also: accountability, dependence, encouragement, gifts, golden rule, good works, handout/hand-up, independence, love, others, sufficient.