Practical Assistance: Meeting Physical Needs
Jesus takes the way we meet, or fail to meet, the physical needs of others personally.
In Matthew 25:42-45 we read where He said the following:
"For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."
They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"
He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."
So, how can we help people in need?
Ways we can help others in need of physical assistance include but are not limited to:
- food distribution
- clothing distribution
- financial assistance
- emergency shelter
- meals for shut-ins
- repairs and other special projects
Individual believers can respond personally to known needs. A church can form a benevolence committee to evaluate needs and link people to those who can provide assistance. Ministry groups within the church can take on service projects to work as teams to accomplish both short and long term objectives.
If you have the gift of service and/or mercy along with a heart for the sick and shut-in, elderly, disabled, homeless, or poverty stricken, then you will certainly be involved in helping meet people's physical needs. All believers, however, are called to come along side and show the love of Christ to those in need as God gives the opportunity and means.
Specifically How to Help depends on factors such as available resources, finances, facilities, and who can help as well as the type of needs present. Watch for adapting pre-packaged programs. The best course of action may vary from setting to setting. All methods or means of assisting, however, need to be built on solid Biblical principles and much prayer.
Order the People Helping Ministry Manual for six tips to consider when determining specifically how to help that are derived from biblical principles, some steps to take in providing practical assistance, and a worksheet you are permitted to copy to help you work through what is available for you to meet people's needs. You will also find instruction on how Jesus helped people in need that seeks to answer these questions:
- What criteria did Jesus use for deciding whom He helped and whom He didn't?
- What kind of needs did Jesus address or deal with?
- Did Jesus put any stipulations on people whom He helped?