Thinking of Others – Strangers and those in Need

Our focus scripture, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Php 2:3 ESV

In part four of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility count strangers and those in need more significant than ourselves”.  There are many more strangers around us then there are friends and family.  This is an obvious truth.  And I am also sure there are many people within our reach that are hurting and in need of our help, encouragement and love.  I am going to address this topic a little differently.  I am going to tell several stories that will get the point across much better and also give examples of what has been done for others which exemplifies seeing others as more significant than ourselves.

Story 1 – Several years ago, my son Christiaan heard about something called ‘Free Hug Day’.  What it entailed was going out in the community and offering free hugs to anyone who wanted one.  So he called several friends and they went to the square in Marietta, GA and held a sign up that said “Free Hugs” and waited to see what happened.  My wife and I had several errands to run but joined them later that day.  When they had been there around three hours, we arrived there and as we were walking up, this lady approached us and asked if we needed a hug.  She had received a hug and felt encouraged to join them.  We told her that we were part of the group here, and she told us, “Still, let me give you a hug.”  How could I refuse, so I let her hug me.  After that, we checked on the group and they were telling us they had given out many hugs, and everyone was really appreciative.  Then we noticed a car that was driving around the square looking at us.  Then the car stopped and an older gentleman gets out the front passenger side of the car and walks up to the group.  He then tells us, “Can I get a hug?  My wife died ten years ago and I have not had a hug since.”  Well, we all got together and gave this man a group hug which lasted a bit, then each of us gave him an individual hug.  He started to cry, and he told us it felt so good and he appreciated the fact we were there for him.

Story 2 – A friend of my wife came down to visit from North Carolina and we all went to church together in Kennesaw.  I will leave the name of the church out for reasons that will be apparent later.  Linda and her friend went into the ladies room before the service started.  They were taking quite a while, but I continued waiting in the foyer for them.  After some time, they came out with another lady who had been crying, and they brought her to someone to minister to her.   I asked what had happened and I was appalled by what they told me.  When they had walked in, there was a lady, the one they came out with, who was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall crying.  It was obvious to them she had been there for some time.  They watched for a moment as ladies walked in and when finished walked out and acted as though this person was not there, or not important.  No one took the time to comfort her.  My wife and her friend knelt down and checked on her, and it turns out her husband had just left her and was going to get a divorce, due to finding someone else.  And the sad thing was, she had become a member at this church four years earlier but due to being shy, had not made many friends.  She was heartbroken because it came as such a surprise.  They spent some concerted time with her and comforted her.  This lady was in desperate need of ministry, but no one took the time, until two ladies, who do not normally go there, reached out to her.  The good news is that after several years, my wife and friend heard from this lady and she is doing well, married to a wonderful Christian man and is incredibly happy.

Story 3 – Once back in 1978, when I was young and a new Christian, I decided to go up into downtown Miami and do some witnessing to the lost.  So, around 11:00 PM, I headed out.  Now, I met several people that night, but I want to focus on one young man I met in a Howard Johnson’s restaurant who I found out needed help.  I had stopped there with a fellow who wanted me to take him home.  He was not interested in anything but hooking up with some guy, and when I outright refused, he asked if I could at least take him home.  Well, I felt like I could at least feed him as well, and so we sat at the counter and I continued telling him about why I was out, and answering the questions he asked.  He then asked me what church I attended, I told him the Rock Church in Homestead FL.  Suddenly, this young man at the end of the counter perked up, came over to me and said he used to attend the Rock Church in Virginia Beach VA.  This prompted some great discussion because my church was a spinoff of the one he had attended.  I asked him if he needed a ride home, and so the three of us got in my car and I dropped off the gay person at his place, then took my new Rock Church friend home.  He lived on the beach in a small apartment with another person.  He told me he was estranged from his father and had left home and had not seen him in years.  He used to be a Christian, but once he got involved in drugs, he left the church.  His roommate was his supplier.  After several hours, I told him he needed to reconcile with his father, move out of this place and move back home.  And, he needed to get involved in a church.  He said he would, so I prayed with him, gave him some pocket change I had, hugged him and went back home myself.  It was only on my way home that I realized I forgot to get contact information. About a year later, I woke up one morning and God placed this young man on my heart.  I had not heard from him, so I asked God to let me know if he was OK.  Well, I was involved in a Christian Rock band doing sound, and we had a gig at a park in South Miami.  As I was helping get everything set up, I heard this young man calling to me, and as he got closer, I saw it was my  Rock Church friend I had met at the Howard Johnsons.  He told me the next morning he called his dad and they were reconciled and his dad asked him to move back home.  He did that following week, gave up drugs and got involved in a church in Coconut Grove FL.  He was being mentored by a friend of mine and things were going great.  Needless to say, I gave God all the credit, and my deep heartfelt thanks.

This is what we are called to do.  In all three cases, someone whom we did not know was blessed and encouraged because someone took the time to minister to them.  I know these are simple instances, and there are so many greater stories than these that others have done.  We just reached out and God did the rest.  This is what Jesus did for the Samaritan woman at the well, someone who was an outcast in Israel but who needed Christ.  And this is our task today, being Christ’s body here on this earth.  Look for those opportunities to put strangers and the needy ahead of yourself, and do it because you love them.  This is our calling.  We are to go out into the highways and byways, compelling all to come to Christ.  We are to meet the needs of all we come into contact with,  “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Mat 22:40  We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  And who is our neighbor?  All people, everywhere.  Whether we know them or not.  So, I say in closing, we need to consider all those we do not know, or are in need, more significant that ourselves.  It is not always easy, but it is His calling to us, because Christ gave His all for us.  Should we do any less?

I know I have posted this poem before, but felt compelled to put here as well.

Poem – Lonely Man

“Hello there!” said the homeless man to people passing by.
He waved his hand and gave a smile while looking in their eyes.
They turned away without a glance as if he was not there
But the lonely man just perseveres wishing someone would actually care.
Hours pass and hunger comes but he has no food to eat
Till someone laughs and mocks while throwing garbage at his feet
When nighttime comes and no one stops he looks up at the stars.
Then slowly walks on down the street past all the fancy cars.
He turns into an alley where he hunts a place to rest
But he finds himself escorted out as an unwanted guest.
Eventually he finds a bench on a lonely dead end street
Where he slowly lays his body down with his head upon the seat.
He dreams about a time long gone and all the memories
of happy times and many smiles with friends and family
He then remembers all the tears of seeing loved ones die,
and losing all that he had owned to an evil scammers lie
He wakes up in the morning, just like every other day,
with tears that flow down dirty cheeks while on the bench he lay
He hoped this day would bring to him a kind and loving friend
To take away the loneliness he feared would never end.
“Hello there!” said this same sad man to people passing by.
He waved his hand and gave a smile while looking in their eyes.
They turned away without a glance as if he was not there
But the lonely man just perseveres wishing someone would actually care.

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Awesome post, today, Bill! Thanks for sharing your experiences. What great examples to drive home what God's word reveals to us on how we should see and be thee for others.

    • Thank You Mike. Much Appreciated. God has done so much for us, I just want to see myself and others work passionately for those who are less fortunate.

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