Spend Your Time Helping Others - iBelieve Truth - June 10, 2024

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“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:9-10

Relationships are hard. This is especially true of being part of a church body. When people have been attending a church for a long time, it's easy for them to begin gossiping about each other, spilling their personal details to other people. Gossip is hard to extract from any relationship, especially those within the church. Yet, gossip can destroy mishandled relationships. Words matter, and they have a weight that can either make or break a person's reputation. It is easy when we get together with friends to gossip about other people we know. 

But God provides a solution to this. The above verse talks about the antidote to gossip and slander. People who want to make a real difference should not waste their time with empty words. Instead, Isaiah posits that if we spend our time feeding people experiencing poverty, we will show the world what Jesus looks like and make the difference that we long for in the world. If we do it to make ourselves feel better, it is only a temporary boost to our self-esteem. This boost may feel good in the short- term, but in the long term, we need another boost to make ourselves feel better. However, if our actions speak louder than our words, and we can demonstrate what Jesus is doing in our lives rather than spending it talking about other people, we can change the world.  

We can put feeding people experiencing poverty into action in easy ways. We can find a Christian organization and strive to give each month. Even if it's just a small amount like $20, we can sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion, feed people experiencing poverty through organizations like Feeding America, or even donate to our local soup kitchen or food pantry. We can also make this our monthly way to serve the community by volunteering at our local communities. The Lord sees our efforts, whether it's the local Goodwill, soup kitchen, or food pantry. When we strive to feed the hungry, we glorify God when we make a tangible difference in a stranger’s life. We were placed on this earth for a reason. We can use our words to tear others down, but Christ's love should compel us to build others up. When we give generously of our time and money, we commit to changing the world, one check at a time. 

Another alternative is to pray for one another. Instead of talking about someone behind the person’s back, praying for them for thirty days is better. Don't tell them that you're praying for them. Instead, keep those private prayer requests to yourself. If this is a person you know and see regularly, feel free to ask them if there's any specific prayer request, uphold them in prayer, and ask the Lord to bless them. Pray for every facet of their lives: their marriage, kids, work, etc. Let the Lord bless them in new and exciting ways. Blessing people is an alternative to gossiping about them. If we spent more time praying for one another than talking about each other, the Lord would move mightily both in our lives, churches, and our world. 

The above verse talks about spending ourselves. When we come home exhausted because we're working and volunteering within our community, we have lived our lives well. We only get a certain amount of time here on this Earth. Our days are numbered. We need to make the most of the time we have. Therefore, when spending your time working for a paycheck, use that money to bless others. When we spend our money and resources not on ourselves but to help others, we live out the Great Commission. We let our lives be a living sacrifice to the Lord.

Father, let us be living examples to the world. May we spend our lives working to meet others’ needs and give our money to bless others. Let us be living sacrifices, spending our physical and mental energy to help others rather than talk about them behind their backs. Giving is the antidote to poverty. When we give to others, we strive to meet the needs of those around us. Help us to be the people who are living examples of you. Amen. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty/Dragos Condrea

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

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Originally published Monday, 10 June 2024.