During my early days of serving the Lord, I traveled all over India with the missions movement I was part of. In some areas where we served, it was so cold, and we slept outside every night. Thankfully we had these feather sleeping bags that kept us warm during the night.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to sleep outside at night without even a blanket! Believe it or not, that’s the situation for tens of thousands of people on the streets in Asia.
Being the Hands that Show His Love
I remember one time when I was in Ajmer, Rajasthan, I went to the market with the bicycle we had to buy some milk for the team. (I was the one who was cooking the food).
It was winter time and so cold. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but I was warm enough and had a blanket-like shawl also. While I was going on the way, I remember so clearly this beggar just shaking and shivering in the cold. He barely had one whole piece of very thin clothing to cover him.
It hurt me to see him there so cold. I stopped my bike, got off and gave him my shawl. I remember going back with just my undershirt on my back.
Have you ever had an experience like this? Maybe it wasn’t exactly the same, but I think the Lord gives each of us opportunities on our journey to reach out to others in some way, whether it’s giving someone a blanket, some food or simply a kind word. He wants us to be the hands that show His love in these very practical ways.
God Works through People
God is all-powerful, and we can think that God “doesn’t need me.” But all throughout Scripture, there are so many examples of God using people to accomplish His purposes. God needed a Noah to build the ark. He needed an Abraham to start a nation and a Moses to deliver His people. He needed people to build the tabernacle, to rule, to judge, to fight.
The book of Acts is filled with people and stories of how God used them. Although Jesus met Saul along the way and revealed Himself to him, there still had to be someone to help him along in his journey with the Lord (see Acts 9:1-19).
And God has not changed the way He works. He needs us, too. We can be the one to bring that refreshing drink of water. We can be the one who says that word in season. We can be the one who says, “Rise up and walk” (see Acts 3:6).
We are part of God’s plan in reaching out to those around us who are suffering. We need to be careful not to assume that He is unable to use us and expect Him to choose someone else. No, He has called us.
I think of the 10 million people in Chennai, India, who are right now in the midst of a major water crisis due to drought. People are struggling every day to get enough water for their basic needs. The trucks they are relying on to deliver water may come only once in two days. The situation has become desperate, and people are crying out for rain.
When we’re confronted with situations like this, it’s easy to feel like we don’t have the power, influence or resources to make a real difference individually. But we must remember that we are part of a body: the hands do one job, the head does another job and the ears, nose, tongue and little toes each do another.
It doesn’t matter what sized part we have to play. Different people have different parts, but each of us must do the best we can with the part we have been given.
We must open our hearts and become involved in the needs of others, whether it’s reaching out to a homeless person on the side of the road or one of the millions of people in Chennai who are desperate for water. And as a team working together, we can see great things accomplished.