First things first: I can’t fully take credit for this idea, like most of us who peruse the internet. I was running around on Instagram one evening and came across a lady who posted something like, “Why, when people are in a crisis, do we extend the words “call me if you need something” rather than just going and BEING?” (That was totally a Carla remix, and for that, I will take credit.) 😉
Anyways, we’ve all done this.
Hey, you’ve just gone through something really traumatic – if you think of it, you call ME and let me know if YOU need anything, ok?
For us in the church world, I’m sure that’s what James meant when he writes about what real religion is, and how that is visiting the fatherless and the widows in their affliction. Potentially in the Greek, there was a hidden phrase somewhere that says, “Wait upon the afflicted for them to call on you,” but I’m guessing not.
This whole concept resurfaced a few days ago when I was (caught red-handed!) looking through my Facebook feed and came across someone who I haven’t seen or spoken with since forever ago, but they had publicly asked for prayer.
Almost every single person wrote, “Hey! Let me know if you need anything!” People were dropping cell phone numbers after cell phone numbers, all with good intention.
But, have we missed it?
We are rather quick to put the ball in someone else’s court, when really, that’s not our mandate, not even a little. We really are supposed to find those who have feeble legs and arms and be their strength. (Different references, but ultimately, the same idea.)
James puts our worlds into a pretty clear perspective when he says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27 ESV). That phrase “to visit” translates to:
to look upon in order to help or to benefit; to look after; to have care for.
Am I doing those things for the people who need it? I’ll be the first to stand up and say no. It’s easier to throw out that phrase, “call me if you need something!” Rather than to be present and active with someone. I also realize that some people prefer to be left alone, but no one is saying that you need to talk a blue streak and make some big friendly gesture. I was told once in one of my college classes that we represent the Holy Spirit simply by being in the room with someone; silent sometimes.
I don’t claim to make this a huge revelation, but it’s been circling around my head for quite sometime and when I saw it in the real, it sparked my heart and brain. Maybe take a minute and think about it? Or don’t. But the next time someone crosses your path and you find yourself saying, “Let me know if you need anything!” maybe take it one step further and don’t make them reach out – maybe you reach out.