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Blessings, shared
Saturday, October 7, 2023 by Brave Knight Writers

 

Let’s propose a question: Who deserves our help most, the millionaire suburbanite, your neighbor, your church family, or the impoverished child in Africa who doesn’t have clean water to drink? It’s important to set rules, one golden rule to embrace—work as hard as the person who has a need.

In Africa the needs are obvious to someone from our western culture, it’s a no-brainer. Yet people still ask, why we devote the time, risk, and expense to travel to Africa to drill a well for people too lazy to do it themselves. In truth the Africans work hand-in-hand with the drillers, it’s not a matter of lack of willingness. In fact, villagers work sunup until sundown sustenance farming, building furniture with hand tools, tending cattle, making mud bricks, firing them by burning straw, all to earn a couple of hundred dollars a year. Poverty of this nature does not allow for the $25,000 needed to drill a clean water well. A child may own nothing but a pair of shorts and a bright smile.

 Yes, there are dangers: venomous snakes, insects, wild animals, disease, crime, deranged beliefs, hostilities—but Jesus is everywhere. The core of the African culture desires to improve their lot but is financially stifled to do major works such as well drilling. Africans gather their courage to face life’s obstacles and bring about change by a growing faith in God—and foreign aid. God blesses people, and when He does, no strings are attached. God gives us freewill to share His blessings or not. Good works won’t gain you a place in heaven, but once you accept Christ as your savior, a desire to help others grows within you. Many pray for God to bless them, when they already have so much. Maybe we should pray to be a blessing. Not everyone can go to Africa, but you can help to send others, or help those in your own community.

Now, consider a man in a million-dollar house who calls you and says he needs help. People might say to let him take some cash out of the bank and hire a contractor, he can afford it. In such a case the reasons not to help are obvious, it’s a no-brainer. The drive to a man’s house may be lined with multi-million-dollar homes. Everything is just so, with chem-lawns, sprinklers, immaculate landscapes, and the illusion all is well, very, very well. Why go help someone so blessed?

The golden rule applies, this man has a need, he must work as hard as the one who helps. This condition accepted, the challenge to help can begin. We can’t judge who needs our help by financial status or need, it must be judged through the heart. Just as the villagers in Africa, the rich man worked side by side with me, and we engaged in conversation. As we worked, we learned things about each other, we shared our views and beliefs. What a casual observer doesn’t realize is the rich man’s history, his family situation, his emotional needs. All they see is his wealth. There was a back story involving his father, three gifted siblings, and one with Downs syndrome. A doting father caring for his special son. A man who counted all his blessings, including his special son. A son he took everywhere, bonded as tight as any two people could be. This son lived into his fifties, suffered a stroke and for four years was noncommunicative and wheelchair bound. The father cared for his every need. For four years after the stroke, the tasks included lifting him in and out of bed and onto the toilet. The father, now in his nineties, has mobility issues.

The rich man helps his father and maintains his house. He tends to his father’s needs. He spends quality time with his father. For years he took him on long drives, and they shared visits to ice cream shops in distant towns. The son is bonded to his father as tight as two people can be. He felt blessed I helped him, but the blessings were mutual. Someone once said to me, want a friend, then be a friend. The same logic can be said for blessings, want a blessing, be a blessing.

So how do we gauge worthiness for our blessings? Maybe the greatest blessing of all is to become one. There’s always a back story, if someone reaches out for help, the reason may not be what you think. But also enforce tough love and require those you help to help themselves. Remember, we’re all broken, and there’s an unlimited number of ways to break.

  

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