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How to Develop the Right Perspective For Helping Others

by KNS Financial on December 1, 2010

With Thanksgiving having now passed and Christmas fast approaching, many people will offer well wishes to others.

You will hear many cries of  “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” over the next month or so.

I’m not sure if it’s the eggnog, pretty lights, or the prospect of getting great gifts, but we probably smile more in December than any other month of the year!

However, all of the smiles and the well-wishes will not go far enough in helping people in need.

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? ~ James 2:15-16

James point here is a very simple one: If someone is in need of the very basics in life (food and clothing), and you give them a nice thought or a motivational quote, it’s worthless!

Since you aren’t giving them what they actually need, your words and actions have no value.

What Can You Really Do?

It can be difficult to see how you can make a difference in the life of  someone else – Especially when we have our own financial difficulties to worry about. With debt, the threat of an emergency, and trying to save for future purchases, it can seem as though we are powerless to make a difference.

I believe that this is one of the reasons why wise financial management is stressed so much in the bible. It allows us the ability for helping others without having to worry about destroying our own finances in the process.

So, the first thing that we need to do is to position ourselves spiritually to help others. Here are some ways to do this:

Acknowledge that God is the Ultimate Provider

In Psalm 50:10-12, God tells us:

For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.If I were hungry I wouldn’t tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.

God owns everything and He calls each one of us to be a steward over a particular portion. He allows us to be the vehicle that He uses for helping others.

So if we are in a situation and a brother or sister needs help, we use our provision to meet their need!

Since Jesus has told us not to worry because God will provide for us (Matthew 6:30-34), we should have no problem sharing God’s provision with another person!

Realize that wealth and possessions don’t bring about ultimate happiness

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. ~ Proverbs 11:4

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ~ Mark 8:36

Having wealth and possessions alone will not save your soul from being condemned to the wrath of God! And nothing on this Earth is more valuable than your soul. Therefore, chasing after wealth is a very empty pursuit.

This isn’t to say that you can’t find enjoyment in “things”, but they should only be a means to help you fulfill God’s desires for your life, and not life itself.

Make giving a priority

In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul talks about giving. In the beginning of that passage, he specifically mentions how the churches of Macedonia generously gave in the middle of “their deep poverty”!

He also teaches us that Christ should be our pattern of giving. This is an important passage to read and understand if you wish to make giving a priority.

Build relationships

In James 2:15-16 (written out above), it talks about our “brother or sister” being in need. We are to see fellow believers as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Then begin to develop the type of relationship in which we are comfortable sharing our difficulties and burdens.

I wonder how many of us have someone in our lives who is facing major struggles, but yet we know nothing about it! How can we help if we don’t know there is a need?

In many cases, people are not willing to tell you that they are in need of the necessities of life. It can be because of pride, or shame, or even fear.

Some of us will have the opportunity for helping people that we don’t even know, due to the hard work and compassion of many non-profit organizations.

Get involved

Here comes the fun part! We started off saying that giving “well-wishes” to someone who has a physical need is worthless (if you are able to help)! There are so many things that you can do, that it would be impossible to list them all here.

Let me just say that it doesn’t always have to end with you writing a check. If you know someone needs groceries, remember them when you do your shopping. Find ways to cut back on waste so you can squeeze a little bit more out of your budget.

You can offer to watch someone’s children while they go out to look for work. If you have a good understanding of budgeting and personal finance, offer to help them manage their resources better.

Reader Questions:

  1. How have you organized your life to be able to help others?
  2. Do you struggle with fear or doubt regarding your provision?

photo by Mr. Kris

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Khaleef writes about personal finance from a biblical perspective for KNS Financial’s “Faithful With A Few” blog. KNS Financial provides Personal Financial advice, Budgeting Assistance, Tax Preparation and Advice, Debt Management, and Economic Commentary, through personal consultations, writing, seminars, and workshops

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