“For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests.”—Philippians 2:-20-21a.

This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. Paul could find no one who was concerned for the welfare of others. And why was that? They were all seeking their own interests.

I am sure none of us who reads this will feel as if this is true for us. We give to charities. We put change in the boot. We take our leftovers and cast-offs to the SAMA thrift store. We put change in the red kettle. We hang a bag of canned goods on our mailbox. Of course, we are concerned about others.

True, but, Paul was looking for something deeper. The needy people in our community are looking for something deeper, more personal. Yes, they appreciate the thrift store and the food pantry; but sometimes people need more than just a meal or a coat. They need someone to look them in the eye with love in their heart. They need to be recognized for their humanity.

One of the most difficult assignments the Lord has given me in recent years is the requirement to look at every beggar before I decide whether to help. Before, it was easy to not catch the eye of the person on the corner with a cardboard sign; or to ignore the one on the sidewalk as I passed by. I am not allowed to do that anymore.

I have to look each one in the eye. Then, and only then, am I allowed to make the decision as to whether I will reach for my money. It is still not an easy task. I often find myself able to ignore the one occupying the intersection with a sign asking for help.

The pain of the Lord’s rebuke is worse than the discomfort of exchanging eye contact when He says, “I died for that one, too.”

Mother Teresa was once asked about what it was that she did on the streets of Calcutta. “I minister to Jesus in all His distressing disguises,” she replied.

Is that not also our calling? Can the Holy Spirit find someone who reads this that will be genuinely concerned for the welfare of others? Is that person you?

Dale Hill, Pastor

Stockton Presbyterian Church

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