In my 2008 New Year message to my friends I wrote “let’s strive to become the ‘miracle’ workers of God among men, bringing a little joy to those in need around us”. One of my old friends sent me an interesting reply to my message” The miracle is within us to perform, the question is, whether we want to do it.”
My friend’s reply made me reflect on the willingness on my part to help others in need. It is very easy to say we must help others but how willing at heart are we to do that, especially when we ourselves are faced with numerous problems?
It has become customary for us to gather in churches, mosques and temples on New Year’s Day to pray for all sorts of favors for us, our family, friends and the nation as a whole. We ask for peace, good health, prosperity and success in all our undertakings in the year ahead. Will God grant all our favors? Does He answer our prayers in the way we want Him to? From my own experiences in life over five decades I can say that in most instances He doesn’t.
If we are waiting for God to work miracles to help us we would be sadly disappointed. He may not give us what we ask for but one thing is certain He grants us what we need in a particular situation through his “miracle workers” among us. Yes; we are to be His “miracle workers” among men.
We may ask how we can help others when we don’t have enough for ourselves. If only we look around and compare with others, we will realize the abundance we have in ourselves. Our energy, knowledge, skills, experience and wealth, however meager that may be are His gifts to us to be used for the benefit of all those we meet in our journey in life. As my friend says the miracle is within us to perform, the question is, whether we want to do it.”
Many of us are kind and generous and willing to help others in need but often we want the right conditions to prevail before we initiate that charitable act. Without even us knowing, we give all sorts of excuses to refrain from helping those in need.
Generally we have no qualms about helping those in need. We know they genuinely need some assistance but we tend to find excuses why they should be helped. These desperate people may be grouped into one of the following categories:
1. The lazy. We know that these people are in need of help but we refuse to provide the help because they are lazy and do not help them. We feel that by helping they will become lazier. We put up conditions that they work harder to earn our love and care.
2. Those with rich relatives. When we realize that those we help are neglected by their rich relatives we get upset and angry. We stop helping them as we feel they are taking advantage of our generosity. Are we right in doing so?
3. Setting a precedent. This is a common reason for refusing help to those in need. We know they need help and we are in a position to so but reluctant because we are afraid that we may set a precedent for future abuses by others. So we refuse aid even to those in desperate need for fear of the unknown future. Is it right for us to withhold help to those in need for fear of others?
What if Jesus had refused to come into the world to save us knowing that many of us will refuse to follow Him?
As we step into the year 2008,let us reflect on our attitude to our neighbor, by posing ourselves a few questions. How willing and to what extent are we willing to help our neighbor in need? Are we willing to go the extra mile, to inconvenience ourselves, in our endeavors to help someone? Do we impose conditions in our efforts to help others in need? Do we feel angry when we realize someone has cheated or taken advantage of our generosity?
Christ had shown us the extreme form of charity by willing to give his life for us, which may be impossible for us to exemplify, but we all possess something which we can offer to give. We know from his example that charity is boundless and it cannot be contained by imposing conditions. We should not hesitate help anyone, anyhow and at anytime when the need arises.We may not be able to totally overcome all the problems of those in need, but by our willingness and concern we may be able to at least touch them, if not cure them of their ills.
This new year, let’s resolve to become the “miracle workers” of God among people, in our own family, neighborhood, places of work and in our own communities. Let’s strive to touch someone in need with our charitable acts of love.