Martin Luther once said, “A true Christian lives and labors on earth not for himself but for his neighbor; therefore, the whole spirit of his life compels him to do even that which he needs not do, but which is profitable and necessary for his neighbor.” When we love our neighbor, we seek to serve him and find ways to help him whenever a need arises.
What encourages me is many Christians are ready to act and show kindness as opportunities of ministry present themselves. You see an elderly man struggling to hold the door and push his wheelchair bound wife, and you hurry over to help them. You stop in the parking lot to lend a hand to the teenager with a flat tire. You share an encouraging word with the cashier at the local grocery store for his or her hard work. You leave a note for a coworker on her computer monitor to find the next morning.
How wonderful these random acts of kindness are! They bless you, bless the recipient, and bring a sweet aroma of praise to God. Acts of kindness are good, and they are not difficult to perform. Many of them are free. What about those that are not? What about those acts that call for more than a generous act or a kind word? Are we prepared to be a neighbor when it requires us to dig into our pockets?
What about the young man in the line in front of you at McDonald’s who forgot his wallet? Or the young family working hard but struggling to pay the bills? How about the wife at the bedside of her husband who has already been in the hospital for a month?
It is one thing to be ready with our heart and another with our wallet. At times, Christians need to reach into their pockets and put some money on the table. The problem comes when a Christian wants to be generous but does not have the means to be generous. We must get strong and stay strong financially so we have the means to act when the call for help comes in.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a good example. The story is found in Luke 10:30-37. While traveling to Jericho, a man was attacked by thieves and left half-dead. A Samaritan walked by, saw him, and had compassion on him. He cared for him and took him to the local inn. Luke 10:35 says, “And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”
The Samaritan was not only ready with his heart, he was also ready with his wallet. He had money available to pay the innkeeper and to take care of the final bill. In addition, he was generous. Providing care for the injured man was more important than what it cost this kind Samaritan. Yet, his generosity would not have been possible if the money was not available. The money would not have been available if he had not been intentional about it.
Would it not be amazing to be in the position to act like this? We can. We simply have to prepare. Start by looking over your budget. Find areas where you can trim down personal consumption—dining, groceries, entertainment, etc. Take the extra money and put it in a “giving fund.” Then, watch and wait. Your awareness to needs will rise, and you will be able to share the heart of a radically generous God.
You do not have to be wealthy to be a “Good Samaritan.” You just have to make a plan, be diligent, set aside the money, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. You, and those around you, will be better for it.