Worth The Effort--by Timothy A. Southall
I often hear accounts of how Christians help others only to be disappointed. They put everything to the side to help. They give money, material goods, time, and a lot of effort. Then they often discover it was "for nothing." The story they were told was false . . . they find out what they gave was not used the way it should have been . . . the person they helped just "up and left" . . . or they were "taken by a crook." As a result, I have seen once-caring Christians become suspicious of all who need help, decide that they don't want to help anymore, and/or just stop caring about those in need.

About 2,000 years ago, God gave His all. He lowered Himself to come into this sinful world in the form of His Son. He fed thousands, healed multitudes, and showed us The Way. What did we do in return? Jesus was betrayed, beaten, and nailed to a tree until He died. This was accomplished by the religious leaders of the time. Now, wouldn't God have been justified if He had washed His hands of us? But that is not what He did. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected to life. He came back to His followers (all of whom had deserted Him and some of whom had denied Him and still doubted Him) to help them. Now that is forgiveness. Having been killed by those He came to help, Jesus returned again to offer salvation to anyone who would believe and obey.

This is a very good lesson for us. The next time we face someone in need, we should be like Jesus and help them. They, like us, are surely worth the effort. And if we are let down as a result of helping, then we should stop to think about what God did for us. After all, if anyone had an excuse not to help someone, it is surely God! He showed no anger, regret, or hatred . . . just forgiveness. God considered us to be worth the effort.

Copyright © 1999 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'  37Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'  40The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
(Matthew 25:34-40 NIV)

See also Matthew 25:41-46