She was a single mom with four children. Although we weren’t close friends, I felt a tug on my heart to be helpful for many months, yet could never seem to find, er, make, time.
One day I finally made the effort. I gave a small sacrifice that I thought would make life a little easier for her.
My help was not appreciated. In fact, she was offended and began to avoid me, which troubled me greatly. I’m not sure where I went wrong, or how giving a bit of cash can be construed as a bad thing. But it was, and for a moment, I wondered why I even bothered.
Most Christians give without expecting anything in return, without requiring a “thank you”, because we love God and want to please Him by serving others. Jesus was a servant while He was on earth, and we strive to be like Him. We sacrifice time or money to help those in need because it’s the right thing to do.
But sometimes serving others can be messy and unsatisfying.
Because sometimes we get a negative response.
~ What if the receiver of the gift is offended by our “interference”?
~ What if they believe they were entitled to the help – that we owe them and were obligated to go the extra mile?
~ What if they complain that we didn’t help in the right way?
Over the past several months God has been speaking to me about serving others, so I’ve put in extra effort. I’ve rearranged my schedule to reach out to friends and family in need. I decided the inconvenience was good for me.
Until I was continually mistreated by the various people I helped.
After one particular frustrating situation, a friend of mine asked why I had helped this person. As I thought about it, I realized I honestly just wanted to be a blessing. She told me to be satisfied that I did what God laid on my heart and let the rest go.
The other person’s response is not my problem – unless I grab onto it.
Giving and helping should bring us joy. We feel good when we do good. Yet the enemy doesn’t want Christians to get along, and he works hard to keep us thinking only of ourselves. He even uses our giving as a way to keep us from living in harmony.
So I’ve decided when my gifts bring a negative response, I’ll leave it in God’s hands. I’ll keep giving. Keep serving. Keep loving.