Late last week I attended our local American Red Cross Heroes breakfast, an annual event where community members are recognized for their heroic deeds. One young man was recognized for climbing into an open window of a burning house, waking the residents and helping them escape safely. As he recounted the story of the rescue, he stated that we need to “just help somebody”. What a powerful statement!
In the gospel of Matthew, we are told by Jesus to love and care for our neighbors.
“’Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-40)
In the book of Matthew, Jesus continues to guide us in how to love our neighbors, how to care for others.
“’For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothed you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40)
We don’t need to climb through a window of a burning home to love others. Our tasks are so much easier than that! We are called to help our neighbors through our daily actions: genuinely smiling at a stranger, providing a kind word to a colleague, carrying some heavy objects for someone who appears to be struggling. We can physically help others with tasks or support neighbors emotionally by just listening to their challenges and feelings. We can simply love others by sharing our time, talents and treasures with those who are in need.
Sometimes, extraordinary measures are needed to care for another. But most often we are called to “help somebody” in our day to day lives. During this week that leads to Thanksgiving, can we all reflect on our own blessings and commit to helping and loving our neighbors every day moving forward? Together, let us work to help many “somebodies” who cross our paths in life.