“The crowd kept asking him, “What then are we supposed to do?” John told them, “Give food to the hungry, clothe the poor, and bless the needy.” Luke 3:10-11

“Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” Luke 6:38

“Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home.”  Romans 12:13

Overview

During horrifying times like we have today with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the concept of helping the people of Ukraine is present among most of us.  When we look at the world, it is clear that everyone benefits when all the countries are stable.  Most countries depend on each other to support a stable life for all their people.

The same concept is true of local communities.  The homeless population, high unemployment, inflated prices, and shortage of food and clothing affect everyone in the community. 

When a high percentage of the population in a community makes an effort to help the needy people, everyone benefits.  Not only are more people productive and contributing to the community, but the quality of life for the entire community is improved when the people who live in the community are able to support themselves.

Of course, there are situations where the needy people request support and then use that support to buy drugs or alcohol.  Limiting support to giving money to people is not always the best answer to support the community.

Example

Bill searching for support groups

Bill works at the headquarters of a large bank in Los Angeles.  He walks a few blocks from the parking lot to his building every time he goes to work in the morning and when he goes back to his car after work.  Almost every day a few people approach him on the sidewalk.  They tell him they are hungry and need his help. 

At first, he ignored the people who approached him.  One night he thought about all those people who need help.  He realized that if a small percent of the population helped those people, it would help the whole community. 

After thinking about helping people, Bill decided to make sure he had cash with him when he came to work in the morning.  He started giving some of the people some money.  After a week, he wondered how the people used the money he gave them.  He made an effort to follow a couple of them and discovered that they purchased alcohol or drugs.  This bothered Bill.  He still wanted to help people but did not wish to support their bad habits.  After spending a week thinking about the situation he decided to purchase certificates from Mcdonald’s and other fast-food facilities so he knew the people would get actual food.  

After trying that approach he found that some of the people used the certificates to get food, but a few of them just discarded the certificates. 

Bill realized that the certificates helped one part of the needy population, but he needed help to support the people who were addicted to drugs, alcohol or had mental challenges. 

Bill visited facilities that helped people with addictions.  Soon he developed an approach to greet people with additions and provide some help providing them information about where to get help.  Meanwhile, he continued to give the certificates to many people.

Summary

There are many ways we can help needy people. It may take some effort to find a way that will work for different groups of people.  There are plenty of organizations that support the people of Ukraine.  We can send money to those organizations.  However, helping people in our own community requires a different kind of effort.  If we make that effort, we will all benefit.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.

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