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How Can I Help?


By: Kristen L. McNulty

This devotion first aired on the MAD Christian Radio Show

The other day I stumbled across a medical show on TV. It followed a doctor working in a large hospital and whether he was interacting with patients, co-workers, employees under his supervision, or even people on the street, the question he asked all of them was “how can I help?”

What an ingenious question to ask. Imagine just how different the world would be if we all asked it of everyone we came into contact with!

When you encounter someone who has lost a loved one, how can I help?

When you witness someone going through an emotional upheaval, how can I help?

When you cross paths with someone with a need, how can I help?


Even if we never asked the question aloud to another person and only asked it of ourselves, the world would be a different place and we would be living a life that would have an unprecedented impact on those around us. Why? Because all too often when we are confronted with someone who is hurting or going through something, our response is to say a platitude to them or even pray a quick prayer for them before moving onto the next thing. But what we fail to realize is that you and I have the ability to not just pray for someone, but we can let God use us to be the answer to their prayers.

God uses people like you and like me to show His love, to represent His grace and to reflect His kindness. Ultimately to be His hands and feet here on this earth. The christian life is meant to be a life of love lived out. Not a life of passing by person after person, need after need, and doing nothing. In the book of James we learn:

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? [15] Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’-but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” James 2:14-17


Faith without good deeds, without action, is dead and useless. That said, we need to get into the habit of asking “how can I help?” every time we are confronted with a need or a person in pain. Then after figuring out how we can help, we need to follow through and do it. Intentions don’t change the world, actions do. Intentions don’t show our faith, deeds do. We need to show up, listen up, and follow up with action.

Whether that’s making a meal for someone who lost a loved one.

Driving someone who is ill to their doctors appointment.

Picking up groceries for someone who can’t leave their home.

Or babysitting for the single parent you know.

“How can I help?” is a simple question, but its answer lived out can change lives, starting with ours.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister[f] in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” 1 John 3:16-19