“How can I help you?” Five little words that can change the world. We usually hear them from people in call centers before we ask for technical assistance or request a refund. We do not put much thought into them. For us, they are nothing more than invitations to express our selfish desires, but for those earnestly asking, they are a self-less gift for those in need.
In our daily lives, we can largely ignore the needs of other people. We can largely ignore other people. We tend to look the other way when it comes to helping anyone and everyone that cannot help us. It is difficult to write these words because, like many of you, I am not free from the sin of inhumanity. I have forgotten my fellow man. I have pushed away impoverished people. I have been indifferent in my interactions with image-bearers of God.
God made all of humanity in his image, and therefore, every person has value. As a Christian, I should know that most. Even with that knowledge, I have treated people like nothing more than atoms and cells to be manipulated at my will. I have turned away my face from the hungry, and I have tuned out the cries of the oppressed. I have turned my back on the least of these, and I have rejected those that live on the fringes of society. But it is not in hyperbole alone that I am guilty.
Even among those closest to me, I have neglected to ask, “How can I help you?” I have neglected to reach out to even the least burdened around me to ask those simple, small, five little words. It should not be difficult to say to your friend, your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, your significant other, “How can I help you?” Yet, we find it astonishingly difficult. If everyone of us asked “How can I help you?” and did what people answered, what kind of world would this be? I am convinced if this were the case, we would be yet another step forward in advancing the kingdom of God and conforming people to the image of Christ.
Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, NIV). How then shall we submit to one other? I say the first step is to ask those around you, “how can I help you?” This is truly just one small step for man, but one giant leap towards advancing God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.