Pastor Seth Moland-Kovash, Palatine, IL
What is it that motivates you to help other people?
How Can We Help?
There are people in need all around us. Some of the need is very obvious and draws our attention. Some of the ways to help draw our attention and become fun – think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from this past summer or the fun that you have together doing things like Walk-a-Thons and Bake Sales. Helping can be fun and we can sometimes see the benefits of our efforts right away. We can see the people gather food they need from a food pantry; we can be thanked by those who receive our care.
But often, helping is a little bit more hidden. A recent article in the Huffington Post illustrates that sometimes that’s because the need is hidden. In this column, a Chicago school-teacher writes about the chronic but largely hidden problem of homeless high school students. Helping in this situation is more difficult. It’s hard to know what to do and how to make an impact. Even if you can help, you might not see the obvious results right in front of you. It’s hard to know whom to help when people are unwilling (for understandable reasons) to let you know they need help.
- How do you make decisions about whom to help in a given situation? How do you make decisions about how to help?
- Have you ever been unwilling to ask for help even if you really needed it? Why? What can you do differently to let people help you?
Christ the King Sunday
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
Jesus tells a parable about how people will be judged based on whether or not they helped. He says that people will be judged based on giving food to the hungry, giving something to drink to the thirsty, welcoming strangers, giving clothing to the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison. Both people who did the right things and those who did not are surprised because they never saw Jesus. This is the memorable line: “Just as you did it [or did not do it] to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it [or did not do it] to me.”
Jesus tells us that how we treat other people is how we treat Jesus. Jesus tells us that all of us (and everyone) are members of his family and deserve to be fed, cared for, and loved. I think all of us want to do that. We have good intentions. Sometimes it’s a problem of recognition, just like it was for the folks in Jesus’ story. I don’t think we’re waiting to see Jesus before we help someone. But I do think sometimes we wait until we see a need we recognize or a need that is obvious.
- How does it feel to know that everyone in the world is part of Jesus’ family with you?
- Do you think you are also “one of the least of these” that Jesus was talking about? Why or why not?
- How can you learn more about what people need so that you can help?
As the author of the article on homeless high school students suggests, ask at your school what you can do to help fellow students whose need may be hidden. Organize that help through your church or other group.
Good and gracious God, empower us to open our eyes and to see the needs of your children so that we may help. Help us to make our needs known so that others may help. Amen.