When You Help Someone Else, But it Really Helps You

Isaiah 58:10-11 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

A few weeks ago I was walking out of the grocery store in my little town.  I had my oldest son with me and I was in a rush.  It was right after work and I was so ready to get home. I saw an older woman in the parking lot approaching people as I was walking back out to my car.  I thought to myself, “Please do not approach me.  My son is begging to get home and I am ready to get home too!” I was running out of patience at that point. As soon as I started loading my groceries, I heard, “Mam?”  She had approached me.  She asked me if I knew of any local churches that might could help her.  She said she stopped by one and it was already closed.  It was after 5:00 and I knew that all the churches would already be closed.  My son was staring of course and grabbed my arm.  I realized I had two choices: 1) tell her she’s out of luck because it is after 5:00 they are closed, or 2) ask her what she needed.  I ended up saying both… it sounded something like this, “Well it is after 5:00, so most church offices are closed.  What is it you are needing?”  She said her car was on empty and she was trying to get home. She also told me that she needed food.  I told her to follow me over to the gas station so I could fill up her car.

As I was filling up her car, she told me she was 71 years old and living on a fixed income. She said she could hardly make it paycheck to paycheck. She explained that she never thought she would be in the situation she was in.  She told me her strength in the Lord gets her through each day and she depends on Him to make it from day to day. She asked me if I went to church.  I told her yes.  (My son is looking out the window the whole time.  He was curious about what was going on.)  I opened my car door and took $10.00 out of my purse.  I handed it to her and told her to go get her some dinner and be careful going home.  As I got back into my car my son said, “Momma who was that woman?”  I told him I didn’t know who she was, but she needed help and today God chose me to help her.

Did I do the right thing?  Some may argue.  Maybe she really did need help…or maybe she took advantage of me. Did she spend that money on food or something else? I don’t know but God knows.  I feel certain that I said yes to God that day.

As I reflected about it all that evening, I started thinking that God may have sent her, like an angel, to me that day to remind me of a few things.  Have you ever helped someone else but realized later how much you gained? God taught me some invaluable lessons that day.

First, I am the person my child looks up to. If he witnesses his father and I extending gratitude, he will grow up and do the same.  Our kids are watching us and will inevitably mimic our actions one day. Even when we don’t feel like dealing with someone else’s problems, God relies on us to carry out His plans.  Even though I couldn’t guarantee that she was going to use that money for food, I was being obedient to God. What a great lesson for our kids to learn by watching us!

Secondly, the most important lesson that I got out of helping her was that God is in control even when our life isn’t what we think it should be. She told me she relied on God to get her though each day.   Do you rely on God to get you through each day?  I would like to say that I do, but the answer is no.  I do not fully rely on him every day.  Some days I want to be in complete control of my day.  I am a control freak and there are days when I let it get the best of me.  What would I do if I’m in this lady’s situation one day? Oh, how I want to have her faith!

I’m so thankful when God reminds me that He will provide for His children. When we help others, He will restore our strength and faith.

There are a few verses I would like to leave you with today:

Romans 8:28– And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 12:8– If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Proverbs 21:13– Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

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