Wise Aid

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:14) 


As I stopped my car at a red light, I saw the same man standing beside the road again. He held a cardboard sign: Need money for food. Anything helps. I looked away and sighed. Was I the kind of person who ignored the needy? 


Some people pretend to have needs but are actually con artists. Others have legitimate needs but face difficulties overcoming destructive habits. Social workers tell us it’s better to give money to the aid ministries in our city. I swallowed hard and drove past. I felt bad, but I may have acted wisely. 


God commands us to “warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To do this well we must know who belongs in which category. If we warn a weak or disheartened person, we may break her spirit; if we help an idle person, we may encourage laziness. Consequently, we help best from up close, when we know the person well enough to know what he needs. 


Has God burdened your heart to help someone? Great! Now the work begins. Don’t assume you know what that person needs. Ask her to share her story, and listen. Prayerfully give as seems wise and not merely to feel better. When we truly aim to do what is good for each other, we will more readily be patient with everyone, even when they stumble (vv. 14–15). 


When have others most helped you? What did you learn about how best to help others? 


Father, help me to help wisely, and often. Amen. 


I was so encouraged by this devotion and I pray you are as well. It gave me spiritual insight to an area I myself struggle with from time to time. If we would do as today’s devotion says and seek God and don’t assume we know what the need is but stop, ask and listen, God will lead and guide you and I to help wisely. 


Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 


Today’s Reading is Jeremiah 32:17