Helping others in times of trouble

With the world in crisis, students of the Bible can only wonder,

“Is this the time of trouble such as never was? Are we truly in the last days? What should I be doing to prepare?”

It is from such contemplations that fear, anxiety and uncertainty about one’s future come. But by God’s mercy, He has provided us with every bit of information we need to successfully wait until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the question,

“What should we be doing?”

that we seek to explore here.

Our role in fulfilling God’s Purpose

God has one purpose: to fill the earth with those who will manifest His character and thereby glorify Him. His purpose never changes, nor does his character; it’s the same when the world is quiet or when it’s wavy like the sea during a storm. In both situations, our primary goal should be to manifest God’s character to the best of our ability. We learn of God’s character in Exodus 34: 6-7, 14:

The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation… For thou shalt worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name (character) is Jealous, is a jealous God.

One of the ways we can manifest His character is by helping those in need. David, in his Psalms, illustrates this obligation to be like God quite clearly. In Psalm 40:17, it is expressed,

“I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.”

God says to help the poor and the needy, not just here but in all pages of Scripture. Take, for instance, James 1:27 which reads,

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Or Romans 13:8, which reads,

“He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Therefore, we must do the same as is expressed in the next Psalm;

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” (Psa 41:1).

If we desire deliverance in time of trouble, it is imperative that we help others when they are in trouble, for

“with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt 7:2).

This is God’s character; we cannot ignore it if we want to be counted worthy at the Lord’s return.

A Call for action by the young

As young people, it’s important to ensure we reach out to others in the ecclesia, no matter what age they may be. When we try to engage with those in the ecclesia, both young and old, we can better know each member of the body. That’s how we will know what their needs are.

Let’s consider a few examples from the Bible where brothers and sisters actively sought out the knowledge of their brethren’s welfare and were ready to help when the need arose and some who did the opposite.

The first, both a positive and negative example, is that of Cain and Abel. Cain murdered Abel and afterward asked God,

“Am I my brothers’ keeper?” (Gen 4:9).

This attitude is in strong contrast to Abel who was, by occupation, a keeper of sheep. Abel had devoted his time and effort to the care of his sheep, just as we ought to do with our brethren.

Another example is Joseph who was sent by his father to “see whether it be well with thy brethren.” (Gen 37:14). Joseph was active in the affairs of his brethren and obedient to his father’s command. We also learn in Genesis 37:2 that Joseph, like Abel, was a shepherd.

“Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren.”

Here he was with them in the field, but he alone had learned the importance of shepherding, applying that principle in his life. We then see a third shepherd, David. He was sent by his father to inquire about the state of his brothers.

And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. (1 Sam 17:17-18).

David then, understanding that the care of his brethren was more important than his sheep, left them in the hand of a keeper and went about his father’s business.

The greatest example

Finally, the greatest example we can look at is Jesus, the great shepherd, who declared,

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).

And not long after his death and resurrection, he said to Peter,

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?… Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17).

It is at this point where Jesus turned over the responsibility of feeding his sheep to his disciples, and subsequently to us as well. If we are to be a good shepherd, we must give our lives for our brothers and sisters, sacrificing our time and effort to assist those in need, just as Christ did.

So how can we help our brothers and sisters in a time of need?

As it was mentioned before, it is important for us to reach out and find out how our brothers and sisters are doing. Perhaps give a phone call or send an email. Whatever help they need, make it happen! It’s one thing to just find out how someone is doing; it is another to aid them. James 2:16 says,

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

We need to provide our fellow ecclesial members with the things needful to the body in a time of trouble when they need it the most.

We will not always know when someone needs support, but if we are aware of someone who does need help, we should jump at the opportunity to heed our father’s command. The time is short; Christ’s return is close;

“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (Jas 5:8).

Cassia and Joel Drywood, (Cambridge, ON)

The Christadelphian Tidings – Volume 84, Number 7 / Special Issue 202 pp 331-332

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Find further to read:

From the 14th of October 2021: Coming of Age in Christ

From the 15th of October 2021: Christadelphian Tidings looking at teenagers and young adults “Coming of Age in Christ”

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