This quote caught my eye yesterday. Sympathy isn’t a substitution for service. All around us, every single day, we hear of horrifying circumstances in which people find themselves. Oftentimes, they occur in other countries but on occasion, they happen to our neighbors. Sometimes, there is literally nothing we can do but pray, and other times we know the person well, but just don’t know what to do. And so we do nothing but feel sympathy for the situation. And then we forget and our thoughts turn back to our own little worlds. But wait! Is this what God has called us to? Is this how we are to respond to those who are suffering through trials and tragedies around us?
I know when I read that quote, I immediately was ashamed. Natural catastrophes have horrified me. I have been brought to tears over the heartbreak others are enduring because of illness, death, and accidents. And, yet, in reading that quote, I realized that was not enough. Feeling sad for someone accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Most of us do not have the funds or the connections to hop on a plane and help with disaster relief in a foreign country. But there are some ways we can serve others in need– right here and right now:
14 Practical Ways to Serve Others
1. Tell someone who is going through a trial that you will pray for them and then remember to actually do it!
2. Sponsor a child in a foreign country.
3. Prepare a meal or buy a gift card from a restaurant for a struggling mom.
4. Offer to run an errand or drive to an appointment for someone without transportation.
5. Take a homemade goodie or flowers to someone who is facing a rough time.
6. Use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to let someone know you have been thinking of them.
7. Ask someone about their trial (instead of ignoring it) and truly listen to them if they want to talk.
8. Write an encouraging hand-written note and send it the old-fashioned way.
9. Support, E-mail, or otherwise encourage a Missionary.
10. Find a lonely, elderly person who doesn’t have family and visit them regularly.
11. Offer to babysit the children of a young couple who are struggling financially and do not have family living close by to help out.
12. Learn the specific places (towns and villages) and perhaps even some names of people where horrendous tragedy has struck, so we can pray intelligently for the situations for which we truly cannot offer any physical help.
13. Recruit the whole family to collect money sacrificially and then give the funds to a trustworthy organization who is doing some real good in places we don’t have access to.
14. Use the internet to find out practical ways you can help, such as collecting clothing, blankets, or shoes.
This is just a short list of possible ways to serve. I would love to hear your ideas! I hope this encourages all of us to think outside of our own little world today. Just imagine what would happen if each one of us did just a couple of things on this list. Together we could, as the true church of Jesus Christ, make a real difference.
Matthew 25: 37-40 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clotheYou? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
2 thoughts on “Sympathy isn’t a Substitution for Service”
I have found that when I slow down and listen to God’s still small voice, He will show me opportunities to reach out in love and demonstrate His love. This reminds me of the story I shared about the woman I met at the gym; and now I collect recyclable materials for her.
Yes, so true. It really comes down to thinking of others instead of always being focused on ourselves, doesn’t it?