Lucy opened her email and read a request to take meals to a friend recovering from surgery. She scanned the schedule and saw the only time slot open was the evening she had to be at her son’s open house at school.
Melanie was approached about helping with Vacation Bible School. “I’m sorry,” she answered, but I work nights and just can’t do it.”
Laura’s friend was moving and needed help packing. She and her family had already scheduled a trip to visit her parents out of town, so she couldn’t offer.
The church announcement called for help to assemble and paint the set for a children’s musical. Not quite my skills, Mary thought as she wished she could do something to help.
We want to help, but it’s times like these when we feel as if we aren’t serving others. Yes, there are often legitimate reasons we can’t help: schedules, other commitments, our health, or our specific skills and gifts don’t match a need.
Scripture encourages us to do good when it’s in our power to act. In fact, we're warned not to withhold good from those who may be in need. The writer of Proverbs even goes as far as to remind us to act whenever it is in our power to do so.
If my work and family schedules conflict with serving and meeting a need. If I lack the gifts that match a project, or if my health keeps me from actively serving, and it’s not in my power to do something, doesn’t that count? On the surface it appears that we’re off the hook.
Think for a minute about what we can all do. Pray. With each plea for help, there is also a need for prayer. The woman who had surgery could benefit from prayer for her recovery. Prayer is needed for the workers and children who attend VBS. A move, no matter the reason, has financial, emotional, and relational components. Prayer is definitely needed for families who relocate.
The next time you receive a request, don’t think about personal circumstances that limit you. Remember, it’s always within our power to do good by praying for needs that cross our path. That power to act is always within reach.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.waterfall-d-mannose.com)