I saw a story about a deputy sheriff who stopped a man who was out walking around 2:30 one morning. The man was obviously homeless.
They talked for a while and the deputy learned that both of the man’s parents and a sister had passed away around the same time. This had plunged the man into the abuse of drugs and alcohol. This, in turn, had estranged him from his living brother and sister.
As they talked, the deputy asked if the man needed anything. The man asked for a Bible. The deputy normally kept a couple of “give away” Bibles in the trunk of his squad car, but found the only Bible he had was his personal Bible.
After a few moments of thought, the deputy decided to give the man the Bible. The man was also hungry, so the deputy made a quick run to a fast food place and bought the man some food. When the man pulled out a couple of crumpled up dollars, the deputy refused to take them and just said, “This one’s on me.”
Six months later a 911 dispatcher received a phone call. It was the man...wanting to thank the deputy for “saving his life that night.” Because of the deputy’s kindness, the man checked himself into rehab and had reconciled with his brother and sister and was now living with his brother (as opposed to being homeless).
How many times do we see folks with needs and ignore them? How many times do we rationalize that they may “swindle” us if we help them? How many times do we think that if we help them once they’ll keep coming back over and over again?
Jesus tells us that whatever you do for others you do for Him and that whatever you do not do for others, you do not do for Him (see Matthew 25:31-46).
While I don’t believe Jesus wants us to “doormats” or an ATM machine for people with needs (either as individuals or as a congregation) I do believe that if we can help others we should. Who knows, just one act of kindness can change one person’s whole world!