What Can I Do For You?

It had been a hard winter in the Appalachian area. The snow had piled up deeper and deeper, the mercury dropped, rivers froze, people suffered. The Red Cross used helicopters to fly in supplies. One crew had been working day after day -- long hours. They were on their way home late in the afternoon when they saw a little cabin submerged in the snow. There was a thin whisper of smoke coming from the chimney. The rescue team figured they were probably about out of food, fuel, perhaps medicine.

Because of the trees, they had to put the helicopter down a mile away. They put on heavy packs with emergency supplies, trudged through heavy snow, waist deep, reached the cabin exhausted, panting, perspiring. They pounded on the door. A thin, gaunt mountain woman opened the door and the lead man gasped, "We're from the Red Cross."

She was silent for a moment and then she said, "It's been a hard winter, Sonny, I just don't think we can give anything this year."

I don't think the story is true, but it certainly could be. I am convinced that there are two kinds of people -- givers and takers. And even in dire times, those who are givers are always thinking about "What can I do for you?" rather than "What can you do for me?" Statistically speaking, the group which gives the greatest percentage of their money to charity every year is the group of people with the lowest income.

There may be several different reasons for that, but truth of the matter is (and this is true among Christians as well), the more we have, the greater is our tendency to hold tight to it. What a great example the Macedonians are to us:

" a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality." (2 Cor. 8:2).

Did you notice that? The group of Christians that Paul held up as an example of generous giving to those in need were themselves in "deep poverty". Yet they gave so much that Paul was reluctant to receive the money, until they implored him "with much urgency" to take their gift.

I look at my own life and see that there are many times when I'm reluctant to give to others, not because it might affect providing for my needs, but because it might affect me having the things I want. Like everyone else, I'm tempted to look out for "number one" and I want to know what you can do for me. But, considering the example of Christ, Paul said:

"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil.2:4)

"Father, please forgive me. Help me to develop a heart of selflessness and love for others that constantly seeks to find ways to bless those around me. In Jesus' name, amen."

Have a great day!

Alan Smith