Christians are very blessed. We have so much to be thankful for. We may not have a lot of monetary wealth, or our health may be failing, but we have the promise of eternal life with Jesus. At this time of year, we should be more aware of that promise.
In the United States, we just took a day to give thanks. Did we give thanks, or did we just chow down on the feast? If we did give thanks, who did we thank? Did you thank God for providing the means for the feast, or was He never in your thoughts? Too often, we forget that without God, we would have nothing.
Even atheists benefit from God’s blessings. Jesus told us to be kind to all people “that ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). God loves everyone and blesses even those who deny Him.
One way to thank God is to reach out to other people. Christians are admonished to share what we have with fellow believers, but I’ve noticed that most Christians think that our giving is only to be given to the unsaved. That’s a very nice thing to do, but we’re told to share the Gospel with the unsaved, and we are to help fellow Christians in need. All too often, a Christian who is in great need is ignored. That’s a very sad situation.
The unsaved should be able to look at how the Christian community loves and cares for each other and see Christ living in us. Then, an unbeliever might start asking questions about why we care so much for brothers and sisters. Our love for Christ should urge us to be like Him. Too often, we get so busy in our own shopping, cooking, and celebrating that we forget that there are fellow Christians who are going through great sorrow, or are physically hampered and need brotherly love to help them.
Depression is a common problem at this time of year. If we live long enough, we will all face celebrating Christmas without someone we love. Depression is actually a very selfish thing. It’s all about “I.” I lost my spouse. I lost my child. I am lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the feelings, but no amount of self-pity will bring that loved one back. It will only make you miserable and more depressed. Some people are too proud to admit they have a need, but if you hide your feelings, how can anybody know you need help?
Fellow Christians should be the first to help a brother or sister through the holidays and all throughout the year, but we are all just people and get tunnel vision when the holiday hustle and bustle comes along. If you’re one who is in need this time of year, or any time of year, look around you. There are plenty of people in your own congregation who just might be as lonely as you. Invite them to share time with you.
The early Christians had similar troubles, but these early believers took care of each other. “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32).
Nobody went hungry because they shared what they had. As more and more people embraced Christ, the congregation in Jerusalem grew, and some believers were being neglected. “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1). Seven men were chosen to oversee the way everyone was treated and be sure all were cared for.
Today, the church has willingly given the care of Christians to the government. This allows us to ignore the needs of our brothers and sisters. You might be surprised to find out that there’s a college student in the congregation who is far from home this Christmas. He or she misses Grandma’s special pumpkin pie or their mother’s special turkey dressing. Maybe they miss just talking with their grandparents, and the separation is weighing heavily upon them. Reach out to them. Maybe there’s a man who is facing the holidays without his wife for the first time in 50 years. Reach out to him and help ease his sorrow. If you reach out to others, you show Christian compassion.
If nobody reaches out to you, then you reach out to others. You be the one to offer a willing ear to listen to the college student or the widower. Don’t wait for someone to reach out to you. Doing for others is one way we show Christian love and also help ourselves. You can be sure that there are rest homes filled with lonely people who could use some cookies and a smile. Maybe someone who is bedridden would like you to read to them. Ask the pastor of your church if there is anyone in the congregation who may need some extra holiday love. Then invite them to go shopping or to join you in some other activity. It’s possible that you have a neighbor who might want a ride to church.
There are many ways of reaching out. You’ll find that reaching out to others is a cure for your own loneliness. It’s easy to come up with excuse after excuse as to why you can’t reach out. Too often, Christians leave it all up to others to help. They drop a little extra in the offering plate, hoping that the church will use that offering to help someone. Maybe you fill a shoebox with things to be sent to children in foreign lands, forgetting that there are children in your own congregation who might be in need.
I heard a story once about a congregation that decided to help a local family in need. One family scrimped and saved in order to be able to put as much in the special collection as possible. All the while, they thought of the needy family and how happy they would be with the gifts of food and gloves. Eventually, the day came when it was revealed who in the community would receive the offerings. As it turned out, the family who had sacrificed so much was the one chosen to receive. They didn’t even know they were needy but gave as much as possible.
Isn’t that a lesson to us all? If we don’t look to our own lack of resources but reach out to others, we are richly blessed. I know a lady who is such a blessing to others. She has two friends who are blind. She makes sure to check in on them and to help with whatever need they might have. That’s showing Christian love, and I admire her for all she does. She doesn’t brag about it, but I’m sure her giving ways have helped her through the loneliness after her husband died.
Too often, we tend to think we need to send money and buy things for unbelievers, but the example in scripture is to care for our brethren.
When Barnabas looked for Saul (later known as Paul) and found him in Tarsus, they traveled together to Antioch. While there, some prophets came from Jerusalem “and there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar” (Acts 11:28). Even though all people would be affected by this “dearth,” what did the disciples do? “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea. Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:29-30).
Christians were taking care of Christians. Over the years, we seem to have forgotten we are to take care of each other. Agabus and his friends reached out for help, and help was given. Paul learned from this. There came a time of need in Jerusalem. Was it a famine? Maybe it was the fact that the church in Jerusalem had so many Christians they were caring for that they needed assistance in helping them. Whatever the problem, Paul knew that Christians needed help. He reached out to various congregations and asked for help. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
He didn’t take shoeboxes to children but took help to fellow Christians. Too often, Christians in our own congregations are overlooked when there’s a need. It’s easier to drop money into a red bucket while someone rings a bell or fill a shoebox than to invite a widower to dinner. Look around you and reach out to your fellow Christians.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything for non-believers. If sharing a meal in order to share the Gospel is what is required, then by all means, do it. But don’t forget to share the Gospel! Reach out to others in order to help them in times of need, but also, don’t be shy about reaching out to others and asking them to help you in your time of need.
No matter what, always reach out to Jesus and invite Him to be a part of your holiday celebration.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries, just drop me an email and let me know.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).