What to do when you see a need
From Chasing Purpose: A 27-Day Devotional
In 1968, two scientists named John Darley and Bibb Latane launched a series of experiments determining how an uninvolved bystander would react if confronted with another person’s emergency. For example, how would neighbors react if they witnessed another neighbor’s beating and murder?
Over the next 10 years, their tests consistently showed bystanders would rarely check on a victim, much less report the crime. It seems impossible that humans could act this way, but the Bible records a similar story in the parable of the good Samaritan.
A Jewish traveler is beaten, robbed, and left on the side of the road. Other travelers pass the hurting man, ignoring him and his pain. He remains in this state until a Samaritan man passes. The Samaritan tends to the man’s wounds and puts him in a hotel for the night. These actions are even more impressive when you consider the hatred that existed between Jews and Samaritans.
If we’re being honest, many of us are more like the priest and the Levite than the good Samaritan. We avoid eye contact with the homeless man in need. We call the pastor when a friend is grieving. We send letters to the city council about litter on our street.
Imagine how we could impact our communities if we refused to pass a need without addressing it. Each of us has been equipped with the hope of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have everything we need to step into someone’s hurt and make a difference.
What happens to the people we help, or what they do with our help, is not up to us. But it is our responsibility to address needs when we see them. When we do, the church becomes the city on a hill the Bible describes, pointing others to a new way to live in Christ (Matthew 5:14).
- What are some of the thoughts that stop you from stepping in when you see a need?
- Pastor Andy Stanley once said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” How could that idea change your approach to meeting others’ needs?
- What’s one way you can serve someone today?