One small deed speaks a thousand words
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The people of Philippi did not have much. But because they were very grateful for what Paul had done in their lives, they sent him a gift. He had given them the greatest gift ever. He brought the Gospel to them and for the first time in their lives they were able to choose Jesus. And, therefore, they could progress on the road to eternal life. That is why they were so grateful.
Although the gift was not very big, it meant a lot to Paul. 14I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles. We may not understand why Paul went on and on about such a small present, but I suspect that things were going really badly, and simply the fact that others were thinking about him, to the extent that they even sent him a gift, meant the world to Paul.
Barnes (e-Sword) described the impact of the gesture so well:
It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. Here we see what the nature of true Christian sympathy is; not only to be concerned for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. They communicated with his affliction, in relieving him under it. He rejoiced greatly in it, because it was an evidence of their affection to him and the success of his ministry among them. When the fruit of their charity abounded towards the apostle, it appeared that the fruit of his ministry abounded among them.
I particularly like it when Barnes says: “not only to be concerned for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them.” I have often found myself saying to people that I hope that their problems would be solved or that I would pray for them and their problems and then turned around and walked away. But I never asked myself what could do. What part of their difficulty could I take on myself, what energy could I spend to help someone bear their hardship, hurt and problems?
We Christians love saying: May God be with you, not realising that God is indeed revealed through our actions, through the things we do to help people in their suffering. Our fruit is seen in our deeds and not so much our words.
There is an English saying that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, I suspect an act that makes others feel good, and act that helps others in their difficulties, or that adds a little bit of value, does speak a thousand words.
I want to challenge you to go out and look for places where you can make a difference. You may think it is nothing or just a small gesture, but for the person on the receiving end it may be everything. May we all go out today and find something that we can do for others that will speak a thousand words.
The world will look, smell, feel and be different!
Where can you do something?
When can you do something?
How can you do differently?
Father, when you are on the road to Eternal Life, you feel so grateful. From this gratitude flows the will to also do well to others. Please help that this desire to do well will never fade away. Please keep us looking for places where our deeds can tell stories of your goodness. Amen