|SEVERE FLOODING. Residents of University, Potrero Malabon city evacuates their home for their safety. Image and caption credit|
Expect to be inundated with fresh appeals for help in the aftermath of tropical storm Mario. According to Rappler,
404 evacuation centers are serving 45,004 families or 205,304 persons in areas affected by Mario. At least 132,850 families or 600,606 persons from Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Bicol Region, and the National Capital Region were affected by the tropical storm that hit land Friday morning. …at least 133 areas in the 6 regions and in the Ilocos Region were flooded due to the tropical storm. At least 4 areas were placed under a state of calamity.
As of this writing, so far 6 people died and 1 person is still missing because of the storm. We pray that the body count won’t go up anymore.
How could we respond in the midst of this apparently overwhelming need? Proverbs 3:27-28 tell us
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. (ESV. Emphasis added.)
Though the passage may refer to fulfilling “an obligation such as paying wages to a hired laborer”, but verse 28 “may expand the idea to being generous to the poor.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)
We are to help the poor and the needy. According to Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
Yes, we should not withhold good but we must remember two requirements. First, the recipients of our help must really be needy (“to whom it is due” or in the New Living Translation, “those who deserve it”). Second, we could help “when it is in [our] power to do it”. So, when we are in a position to help, we should not delay in doing to their aid. “If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’” (NLT)
The second requirement would certainly lift a lot of guilt. We want to help the needy but we feel that we don’t have that much resources to give them. One of my favorite speakers, Andy Stanley, said, “Do for one what you wish you could for everyone.” Of course, unless we are as rich as Bill Gates of Microsoft or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, we could only do so much with our limited wealth. But that should not stop us from extending a hand.
We may not be able to help everyone but surely we can help someone. I like how The Message version translated Proverbs 3:27-28.
Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket. (Emphasis added)
Saw that? Our hand is God’s hand. I remember reading about a baker who gave a piece of bread to a hungry beggar. The beggar asked, “Mister, are you God?” Our acts of kindness might be the best proof that there is a God to others. So, do for one what you wish you could for everyone. We might feel that our bag of goods was just the proverbial drop in the bucket. But it could mean a day’s survival for somebody else.
Brothers and sisters, your hand is God’s hand for others.