Is it Good to Help? (Lent) - Monday, March 12

lent 2018 devotions lutheran indian ministries

"Is not this the fast that I choose; to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?"  
Isaiah 58:6-7 (ESV)

We see people all the time, everywhere, who are hurting and in need. A person standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for help. People sleeping on a park bench, homeless, broken, and trapped in the cycle of addictions. Have you ever wondered, should I help? If I were to help would it be good or would it hurt them more? 

As I was walking into a restaurant the other day, I saw him: a young Native man sitting on the sidewalk. He had a light pair of pants and a small coat on. His head was between his legs, cold, hungry, and inebriated. It was -20 degrees outside and a very cold shiver ran down my spine. My heart was broken for this young man and all the questions about helping ran through my mind.

I helped him up and into the restaurant. I asked if I could get him something to eat? We sat together and had a bite. I prayed the whole time he sat in front of me. There were few words between us, and when he was finished, he thanked me and left. I said, may God bless you and keep you, and he was gone.

I was left with the feeling I couldn’t do enough to help this young man, and I wondered about my motives. 

Was I trying to please God? Was I acting out of some guilt about having something someone else didn’t have? Was I trying to look like a good person? No, the reason I helped this young man was out of obedience, an obedience to God as a form of worship to Him who saved and loved me and desires to save all mankind.

Lord, help us see others as you see them. Help us to see ourselves in the light of your Gospel. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Rev. David Sternbeck (Nuu-chah-nulth)
Fairbanks, Alaska