Happiness in Giving – Part 1: Help the Weak
“I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak…” (Acts 20:35a GNT)
The apostle Paul had come to the end of his farewell speech to the elders of Ephesus. It was the last time he would be speaking to them in person; so they listened carefully, and so should we. Paul ended with an exhortation to work hard, following his example; and then he gave them the reason why: to help the weak.
Christianity is all about action, about philanthropy, about giving to those who don’t have, about helping those who may be weak – whether in their body, their mind, their emotions, or their faith. The idea that Christianity is just about learning Bible verses and singing songs on Sunday and leaving it at that, would have been foreign to the early church. They knew that Jesus saved us, yes, to reconcile us back to the Father and give us eternal life, but also to keep up the work that he started; for the Bible says that on this earth, Jesus went about “doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38).
According to Paul, we have to work hard in order to help the weak. And we do have to work hard, because there are weak people all around us – people who may be weak in their mind, in their social skills, in their education; single parents who may be overwhelmed; kids who are growing up with no dad in the house. Who’s going to help them? That’s why Jesus said that we are to be the salt of the earth and light for the world (Matthew 5:13-14). We’re to imitate Jesus, whose friends were the weak and the needy—little children, and people such as Simon the Leper and Mary Magdalene, who had been demon possessed. Unfortunately, a lot of our Christianity nowadays is about me, myself and I. It’s about my needs, and “pray for me,” and “maybe I’ll give a praise report." But living a day to help someone who’s weak? No, that’s not on the agenda for most people, yet it’s the way to fulfillment and happiness for the Christian. We have to pray for the weak, and we also have to get strong in our faith and work hard so that we can help by giving of ourselves and of what we have in order to help them.
We have as our recompense the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “When you did it for the least of these, you did it for me!” Why don’t we pray that the Lord might direct us to someone who is weak, and that he might empower us by his Holy Spirit to be Christ’s hand extended to them today?