By Bryan Ho
How caring are we towards others? How much care do we show compared to the care we receive? Instead of just doing enough or caring on a reciprocal basis, we should take a moment to reflect how we can be a better friend or neighbour.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up“. We do fall or get discouraged at times. And during these down times, how wonderful it is when we have a friend who cares enough to lift us up, encourage us and help us continue on.
In the bible, we can learn many things from apostle Paul and we certainly do well to listen to him on how to be a tender and compassionate friend. In Philippians 2:3-4, he writes, “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”. In other words, be concerned about others.
We need to cultivate a genuine interest in others. In Philippians 2:19, Paul wrote to the brethren in Philippi and said, “19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.” Consider Paul’s background; he is a missionary and is not without his fair share of problems. In fact, some of the persecution which he had to endure is not even experienced by many of us today. Missionaries need help and sometimes they write appeal letters for help. So it would have been logical for Paul to have written a letter saying, “I’m in prison here at Rome and the conditions are really bad. I need help, so please take up a special offering and send it to me quickly.” But Paul didn’t do that. Instead, he was concerned about them. His was thinking of them and he was sending Timothy to find out how things were going. And he wanted to receive good news so that he could be encouraged.
When we go to church on Sundays, be on the lookout to see how we can help one another. Over there is a mother with both hands full, maybe she could use your help. Perhaps there is an elderly member who is trying to walk up some steps, he or she could use your help too. When you are sitting near visitors, introduce yourself and welcome them, let them know that we can help them in any way to grow their faith.
When you look at the prayer list and learn of someone who is having a difficult time, drop them a note and let them know that you are praying for them.
Let us continue to cultivate and improve ourselves by being a friend and lend our support in whatever way we can. After all, we are in God’s family and in Jesus, we have our best friend ever.