A Christian must help in the community.
Ask yourself this question, "when last did I help someone that couldn't give me anything in return"?
I am not asking about obligatory giving or helping but genuine giving to someone directly or indirectly without getting anything in return. A kind of giving that is not inspired by an expectation of return but one that comes from the heart.
Acts 20:35 (NIV) In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive."
From someone that enjoys service and volunteer work, I can tell you that there is an unexplainable feeling of happiness that comes with helping people without getting anything in return. Even Jesus said it in the above verse, it is the truth.
I probably have some readers that are not very keen on the spiritual side of things or you may still be skeptical, let's move over to what science says. Research shows that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. fMRI technology shows that giving activates the same parts of our brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Altruism aka benevolence is hardwired in the brain and it's pleasurable. This is what scientific experiments say.
Have you been feeling empty, depressed, sad or unfulfilled? Helping others may be a key to unlocking self-fulfillment and opening new layers of yourself you never thought existed.
Giving is a key to happiness. However, I know people that get burned out or depleted from sacrificial giving. Here are some practical tips to help you feel excited and rejuvenated about giving:
1.) Let God be your plug: It is very easy to work hard to love and stretch yourself when it comes to altruism. I want to share with you that in this flesh you live in, you are very limited. You may even get to that stage where you will be asking yourself "Am I the only one that can love?" as a reason to stop giving so much. However, when you rely totally on God as your source you begin to do things effortlessly and supernaturally. Loving and helping people will never leave you depleted because you are only extending the love that has been poured into your heart. The desire to love helping does not start from you, it starts from God. Any love that starts from you will get tired. Let your source, drive, and motivation. Be completely dependent on God.
Romans 5:5 (NIV) And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
2.) Find Passion: What do you love and how can you give to it. The truth is this, if you are not passionate about what you are giving to, you will eventually get frustrated. You need to have a heart to heart connection. I realized that I was passionate about causes that support health care and children when I studied the pattern of the jobs I have always taken. I am not very good with children so I don't expect myself to run a daycare. However, I am passionate about supporting children and health-related causes. This passion keeps me interested in giving my time and resources to these causes. You may think you don't have a passion, take time to reflect on those societal ills that bug you the most. It could be domestic violence, mental illness, environmental pollution etc. Your passion most likely comes from your frustration.
Colossians 3:23a (AMPC) Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul)...
3.) Use your skills: You don't have to learn new skills to serve and help people. There are organizations out there offering free sanitary materials to girls in less-developed societies, there are blood banks taking blood to marginalized communities, there are groups fighting against Female Genitalia mutilation (FGM) amongst others. These organizations are always in need of medical health professionals, technological personnel, administrative staff etc. You can use the skills you have already to help them out. Many of this work can be done over the weekends or even via the internet. You can also request a few hours off work to do this. Additionally, you can take the concept of helping society to your boss to create a company that cares. Your company can start caring about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) because of you.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
What can you give?
- Money: There are many not-for-profit organizations such as churches, organizations, orphanages, schools, libraries etc doing good work across the world. You can research different organizations and determine which one best suits you. You can give a little monthly donation to help them achieve their goals and help the people you really care about.
- Time: Like I mentioned above, there are skills you possess that these organizations need. Sometimes they don't even know they need it. Something as little as opening and managing their social media presence can help heir work reach their targeted beneficiaries and donors. You may also seek out volunteer opportunities in your area. Even if its a few hours a year, that is better than nothing. You can also follow your church to outreach programmes or help organize one for the church.
- Ideas: Similar to what I said previously, many organizations have needs that they can't meet or have not even recognized as a need yet. You can volunteer your ideas as well.
- Clothes, shoes, bags etc: We all have clothing items that we have not worn in a while. It is a good time to give it out. Clean out your closet and donate those stuff to people around you. You see that brother in your church that only has one trouser and shirt, clean out your closet and give him something. If you feel icky about giving out your used items, buy gifts and give it out. Valentine's day is at the corner, actively plan to show love.
No one has ever become or remained rich from holding on tightly to all they have. God wants to bless you but there are capacity concerns. If you don't have channels to bless people connected to you, it is possible that you will be unable to receive all that God wants to bless you with. Imagine you are a tank, if you don't have taps connected to you to give water, you may burst from an overflow from your source.
Create channels to bless people now. It is not a matter of when I have more, it is a matter of I have enough to start now.
"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill