Summary: How do we relate to the needs of others?

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Helping Hands

(Acts 3:1-10)


“There was a pastor of a small church who had a little daughter of about 6-years-old. It was near her bedtime, and she was sent to bed with a stomachache and missed her usual romp with her daddy. A few minutes later she appeared at the top of the stairs and called to her mother, ‘Mama, let me talk with Daddy.’

“‘No, my dear, not tonight. Get back in bed.’

“‘Please, Mama.’

“‘I said, no. That’s final.’

“‘Mother, I’m a very sick woman and I must see my pastor at once’” (Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994), 251).

The world is abounding with those who have various needs to be met; and some are more serious than others. And we’re left with the choice to either ignore those needs, or become a catalyst for positive change by extending a hand.

I want to refer back to our scripture from last week as we look at meeting the needs of others. Let’s take a look…

Acts 3:1-10 (NLT)

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. [2] As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. [3] When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

[4] Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, "Look at us!" [5] The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift. [6] But Peter said, "I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!"

[7] Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened. [8] He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

[9] All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. [10] When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!

Warren Wiersbe writes,

“In ministry, we’re called to live for others. Ministry is not just another way of making a living; it’s a wonderful opportunity for making a life, a life that’s lived for others. It’s an opportunity to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. When He was here on earth He met human needs, all kinds of needs; and He wasn’t always thanked or even appreciated” (Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993), 9).

We can relate to people’s needs in several different ways:

1. We can be blind to them and live our own lives:

Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)

Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. [4] Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

When we are blind to others’ needs we are selfish. Now, I’m not trying to step on toes or hurt anybody’s feelings here, but when we make the decision to pass up an opportunity to meet the needs of another by pretending we don’t see them, we have stepped into the realm of selfishness in the most full-blown sense.

When Paul tells us to “be humble, thinking of others as better than ourselves,” we must understand what he’s saying here. First, we must understand that he is indicating that we become aware of others around us; that we open our eyes literally and figuratively to those who are in need and in want that we cross paths with everyday.

You see, the problem is, when we’re constantly looking at how things affect us only, we are unable to see the needs of those around us. I call this the ingrown dilemma.

Second, when Paul says that we need to think of others as better than ourselves, he’s not indicating that we must be self-loathing or not take care of ourselves; he is merely stating that we view others with a sense of respect and esteem. Our tendency is to want to make ourselves out to be better than we really are, and to make others out to be worse than they really are so that we come out on top in the comparison game (and let’s be honest, we’ve all played this game before!).

If we take into consideration the way that Jesus treated the outcasts of his day (those considered unworthy and unacceptable to mingle with) we see a humility that we too should be emulating. Jesus esteemed others as better than himself by the way he treated those considered unimportant in his day and age. He took on the position of a servant rather than a king (which is what he really is), and treated others with respect and unconditional love.

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