Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

When we think of love, we perhaps most readily think of our immediate family and friends. Jesus taught us to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. One legal expert pushed Jesus to define ‘neighbour’ – perhaps we would have preferred it to stay vague, but Jesus gives a practical and surprising example to illustrate this … the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

Here we have a person who has been robbed and left for dead by the roadside. To go to that person and mercifully help - is that a big act or a little one? I think that answer would be different for each of us. Some would naturally be inclined to help and feel uncomfortable if they didn’t. Others find it very difficult to approach a complete stranger and offer help (especially in our culture today – I will expound this in a couple of weeks in ‘little acts rebuffed’) and to do so would, for them, be a big act.

It’s like how much we give. Many of our donors give £5 or £10 to a request. For some they see this as a small way to help – a little act that, together with other similar little acts, can make a significant difference. For others, a gift of £5 is a big sacrifice out of a tight and continually squeezed weekly budget, just like the widow’s mite. We will never know into which category people fall but our commitment to each one is to make sure their money is making a difference.

£25 for a slow cooker was just the ticket for a lady in Barnsley who through her local Children’s Centre was learning how to cook healthy meals for her family. Imagine the impact and repercussions of that gift. First of all, for the mother, there is the satisfaction of learning a new skill and the warm feeling inside that people who didn’t know her wanted to help. Then, for her children, the massive benefit of healthy meals and all that stands for.

It is difficult to measure but there is surely no doubt that healthier meals will mean improved levels of concentration at school and less sickness which means less school days missed. If Mum can also cook more economically, this will release funds for other things – perhaps ensuring the children are in appropriate clothing and footwear or the purchase of something else for the house.

The impact of £25 is huge. Do you have similar experiences of how such comparatively little acts can go far?