When you hear a call for help

A Christian Science perspective.

During the initial severe earthquake in Haiti, there was a news report that millions of dollars had been contributed by people using their cellphones. They could call a certain number, indicate the $10 donation was for Haiti relief, and press “send.”

What wonderful evidence of a loving desire to help those in need. Perhaps people were donating only a few dollars at a time, but because there were so many, it amounted to a very large sum. The International Red Cross was grateful to have such immediate response to their relief efforts.

This indicates an inherent desire in the human heart that wants to help. Have you been aided by a friend who quickly came to your rescue when you were in need? And have you quickly gone to the rescue of someone who needed it? We may tend to forget both these aspects of giving and receiving, but it can help strengthen our sense of unselfish compassion and love when we see what’s behind them.

Because God is infinite, ever-present Love, every human heart has the capacity to help, to give, to reach out, to see our brother’s or sister’s need. St. Paul spoke of this inherent desire when he preached to his fellow Christians, “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other” (I Thess. 4:9, New International Version). People’s love for one another is natural. It is inherent, alive, and responsive.

Christ Jesus’ life is a perfect example of doing much for others, whether through healing, preaching, teaching, feeding the multitudes, instructing his disciples, or sharing the spiritual insights God revealed to him. Truly, he was the highest example of the Christian love he taught.

If people don’t feel the desire to help, they can awaken to it by taking stock of what they have to give before the need is apparent. Gratitude and appreciation for one’s own blessings reveal the rich storehouse of what could be shared with others. The ability to help comes before the need is known.

God’s love for His children is neither insignificant nor inert. Divine Love is alive. It cares. Love is always doing something because divine Love is God, always active and vital and in motion. And because we, as God’s children, all have the same source and Creator, it’s natural to respond to one another’s needs in loving and practical ways.

Here’s a close-to-home example of responding with love to a community need. Our local supermarket sometimes has a stack of boxes of food at the front entrance. For a few dollars, customers can buy one of those boxes with their other groceries. Then that box is placed at the exit, ready to be distributed to people in need. I’m always impressed that the stack of boxes at the exit is bigger than the stack at the entrance. People have a natural desire to share in this simple but practical way. On the top of each box is space for the giver’s signature, an unsigned greeting, or just a smiley face. It’s so heartening to see that outgoing stack grow.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote, “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 518).

To the degree that we individually realize that we all have one Father, one benevolent and caring Parent who is blessing each one of us with daily good, we will also see that this source of good is unlimited and that we can express it in our lives by putting into practice our desire to help others, which includes reaching out in practical ways. This blesses the giver as well as the recipient.

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