“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
– James 4:17 (NIV)
The neighbors behind us have some kids and they often talk to my daughter over the fence. They have a neat play set and a trampoline, so they look down into our yard, but we really can’t see into theirs.
A few days ago Lila asked about one of their little girls. The other children said that she was sick. With that in mind, my daughter said that we should take her some soup since she wasn’t feeling well.
It actually turned out that I had already planned to make chicken noodle soup for dinner. The chicken was already defrosted in my refrigerator. I didn’t mention anything about the soup to her, but just kept it in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to disappoint Lila by saying that we’d take it in case we ended up going somewhere or in case I forgot.
But the more I thought about it, I remembered James 4:17. And I figured it wasn’t a coincidence that I had already planned to make soup, so I knew we needed to take some over. We’d never met the family before, we’d just said hi to the kids over the wall. So this would be a great opportunity to do that, as well as allowing Lila to perform the act of kindness that she’d thought of all on her own.
We caught the family backing out of the driveway and dropped off the soup. It turns out that the little girl being sick had actually been a little white lie, but nevertheless, it was a lesson in obedience for me and an opportunity to extend kindness for Lila. Moments ago, as I wrote this, the same little girls came over and brought us some chocolate chip cookies. I have a feeling that a great friendship will develop for our families, that all started from Lila’s heart to take over some soup.
So what’s the takeaway here? When we hear God ask us to stop and help someone, to buy a homeless person a meal, to do a kind deed for a friend, etc., that it’s sin when we don’t do it. Ouch.
If we want to be obedient, we must do the good we know we should. Even if we think the person doesn’t really need it or that they won’t appreciate it. Either way, it honors God when we obey.
So many times I have good intentions of doing good, like sending a note to a friend, making a phone call to someone in need, making good on a promise, stopping to play with my kids when I’m doing something else. But often, I fall short. Thankfully, God’s grace covers it all! I can ask for forgiveness and make a better decision the next time. He always gives us more opportunities to try again.
I don’t say any of this to be condemning, that’s not my heart at all. But rather, I say this to encourage you to do the good you know you ought to do. It pleases God, not to mention blesses the receiver and so many times us as the giver.
I recently heard an amazing Focus on the Family podcast by Andy Stanley, where he says that we’re so often overwhelmed by all the need in the world. We often ask, “How can we help everyone? Will one act of kindness actually make a difference in the world?
His response: “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”
To listen to the message, click here: