We have just celebrated the holiday we know as Thanksgiving and a time to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for. God has blessed most of us beyond measure and we seldom take the time to thank Him like we should. I’m as guilty as the next person and, when it is brought to my attention, I feel so ashamed because there are so many others out there that are not as fortunate as I am. They have basic physical needs that are not met yet mine are and I take them for granted.
When I look at the life of Jesus during His ministry on earth, I suddenly realize that He was constantly meeting the physical needs of those He came face to face with. Just as we expect, He set the example for us. In all of the miracles He performed this became so evident. He helped make a wedding successful by turning water into wine. He fed thousands when they had no food for themselves. He healed the lame who were helpless and He gave sight to some that had never seen the light of day. He calmed the sea and relieved the fears of his disciples. Our physical needs are important to Him and He often fills those needs more than we deserve. And it follows that we should also be with those around us who have needs we can meet out of the measure of the blessings He has bestowed on us. This is what I call serving others through meeting physical needs. So let’s take a look at some of the ways we can do just that.
Let’s begin by considering different types of situations that other people may be in that could result in physical needs on their part. We are aware that there are homeless in our area. We certainly know that there are folks without food, especially children, and others without the clothes needed to keep them warm. There are elderly folks who are lonely because it appears that their family has abandoned them. There are widows who need repairs done on their homes or their lawns mowed. And of course there are children who have lost their parents and need someone to take them in as their own. Wow! There sure are a lot of needs out there. But this also makes for many opportunities to serve.
We are all aware that there are many secular organizations that attempt to meet the needs we just mentioned. And they certainly do a great job in doing so. However, they can’t operate without funding sources whether from private donations or from governmental assistance. And they also need a large group of volunteers. These groups are necessary to help relieve some of the suffering in our society and especially during times of natural disaster. However, when I speak of serving others I am referring to a lifestyle of giving ourself to putting the needs of someone else ahead of our own. This is true service and often requires sacrifice on our parts. And I am speaking more specifically about those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ because they are truly our family.
A large part of our series on serving others has dealt with the motivational gifts that each of us have. And the fact is, when we recognize a situation where a fellow believer has physical needs to be met, we have the opportunity to use those gifts as God intended. The problem is that often times we are not aware of the needs. This may be because we either are not as involved in our church family as we should be or we are not made aware of the situation by our leaders. The point is that the first step in serving others by meeting physical needs requires that we be able to recognize that the needs exist. We need to discipline ourselves to pay attention to those around us and learn how to tell when there is a need to be met. Then we should be prepared to act to meet the need if our motivational gift and our means are what the situation calls for.
God has given all of us a least one spiritual gift and in most cases more than one. We are to be reminded that He desires and expects us to use them to minister to others. And one of the ways we do that is by meeting physical needs of those around us. Recognize and react. And He will get all the glory!