The NIV translates the first part of today’s verse to say, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.” The New Living Translations says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.” The ESV says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints.” Share. Be ready to help. Contribute. This is what we all should be prepared to do for others. I love what the Passion Translation says: “Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home” (Romans 12:13). Constant interest.
What does it mean to have constant interest? This surely doesn’t mean we are helping someone and then the quota is met for the day, week, month, or year. There’s no measuring a constant. Constant means always. Too often we are unable to do all that God imagines because we limit ourselves to quotas. We say, “I helped John and Mary so I have done my part.” Yes, those words. I have done my part. How do we quantify our part? Does this in fact put limits on what God does through you to advance His kingdom? Does saying, “I’ve done my good thing for the day” end up keeping us from truly blessing others? Are we missing a greater experience because of these limits? Why are we even trying to quantify anything? Are we not to keep the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing? Matthew 6:3 says, “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (NLT). Let us remember to live with open hands. Do not set limits on what God can do in and through you. Do not focus on how much or little others are doing; you can only control your own constant interest.
However, this verse isn’t saying that you can solve everything or help everyone. You are not a super hero. Being one who contributes is different from being one who carries or covers. You aren’t made to do it all. In fact, you likely will not be able to help with many of the needs. Trying to be the super hero only sets you up for failure and disappointment. Remember the constant is the interest. Interest is all about the heart. The verse is telling us to constantly be concerned, to constantly care about and take interest in the lives of our brothers and sisters, as we live with open hands. It’s more about being ready to help and being concerned about the needs. This verse tells us to recognize our brothers and sisters in need. Don’t turn a blind eye. Imagine if each of us lived with open hands and open eyes. Imagine how God could move through each of us if only we stepped out of the way.
A popular medical drama on television today is New Amsterdam. One character on the show, the medical director Dr. Max Goodwin, always asks the question — “How can I help?” This is how the character attempts to transform the hospital. How can I help? This is a question we ask as we take constant interest in the lives of our brothers and sisters. The how isn’t always financial. The how isn’t always about getting your hands dirty or doing heavy labor. Sometimes the how is a listening ear, a smile, a prayer.
You my friend have the opportunity to do great things today. May you take a constant interest in your brothers and sisters today and always. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to the needs of people. Ask God to open your heart for others, to grow your ability to love people. Be intentional with your words and deeds. May everything you do or say be done in love.