When you have the power to do something for someone who deserves it, the Bible tells us to just do it. Help them. Do not withhold good. It sounds like a grand idea, but yet we often fall short. We will tell people maybe later or we will totally dismiss the thought of helping at all. At times, when we say, “Come back tomorrow,” we have no intentions of even seeing the person the next day, thanks to the practice of avoidance.
Note that this passage does not tell you to enable people. Remember that the Bible speaks against enablement. This passage is also not talking about helping people when you do not have the power to help. There are times when you cannot help someone—but thankfully you can always pray for them! It is made clear in this passage that for us to help, we must have the power to help them, and that they must deserve it. Don’t mistake this word “deserve” to mean they are owed something. None of us are deserving. We are all blessed by God.
Today, don’t procrastinate with your giving if you have the power to help others who are in need. Open your hands. If you spend your life clinging to that which was meant to be passed on, you will lose something bigger than what you are clenching.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’” – Proverbs 3:27-28 [NLT]
In Proverbs 3, we read that we are not to send our neighbor away when they are in need and we have the means to fulfill the need. The word neighbor actually is “rea,” which means friend or companion. When we have with us the solution, we should not tell the person to leave and return the following day. It seems like a very easy thing to do; however, it is not always seamless.
Why do we postpone helping when we can help? Many times it is because of greed, laziness, or disregard. We don’t like to admit it, but these reasons often are at the root of the denial. We don’t want to let go of something we worked hard to earn. We really do not feel like using the extra effort to lend a hand. At times we feel disregard for the person, and helping out is the last thing on the mind.
We always have to use good discernment when helping, so that our assistance is not enabling a person. However, we usually find ourselves in a situation when we can be the hands and feet of Christ, and it is a true need we can handle. We are blessed to be a blessing. Keep praying. Keep your hands and heart open. Don’t tell your friend to go away for a day when it is quite possible that you crossed paths this very moment to bless them and point them to Christ.
“Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” – Proverbs 3:28 [ESV]
There are people all over the world who need help. There are people right in front of you that need help. Proverbs tells us that we should “never walk away from someone who deserves help.” If there is a person before you, “your hand is God’s hand for that person.”
Do you consider yourself the hands and feet of Christ? We each are called to serve, to love, to help those in need. “Don’t tell your neighbor ‘maybe some other time.’” If the “money’s right there in your pocket” it should be so easy to pull it out and bless that person. That is why God put it there in the first place. You have been blessed to be a blessing.
Each day I see people in great need and I see those who could help. Sadly many of those moments end with the needy person walking away without assistance. God places many people before us each day, many people we can touch with His hands. We can show love—it requires action, it requires being intentional, it requires compassion. Get your God’s hands ready. It’s time to help someone.
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor ‘Maybe some other time’
or ‘Try me tomorrow’
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.”
-Proverbs 3:27-29 [MSG]