Practice care for those in distress

Matt Mylin   -  

Given that there are so many needs in our world, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to begin. I get it. There have been times in my life when I talk myself out of doing anything because I can’t do everything. Or I don’t know where to start. James, the half-brother of Jesus, gives a helpful starting point:

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).

Widows and orphans represent people dealing with unplanned circumstances.

Often God works through people to care for other people. Sometimes the challenge is knowing what kind of care is most helpful.

Here are five ideas for how followers of Jesus can practice care for widows, orphans, or someone in their life who may be in a difficult, unplanned circumstance:

1. Care by doing an act of service.

Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need any help,” offer to give two hours of your time to do whatever is helpful.

2. Care by sending a thoughtful handwritten note.

Some of the most thoughtful handwritten notes I’ve received are hung where I read them regularly. Your note of encouragement can be like oxygen to the soul.

3. Care by offering a visit.

Make sure you know this would be helpful before offering it. But being physically present to someone in need is a way to show care. Rick Warren calls it the “ministry of presence.”

4. Care by covering a bill or an expense.

Most times of distress incur added expenses, but even regular expenses like gas or groceries can be daunting for someone in need. Offering to cover a tank of gas or giving a gift card to a grocery store can be a great help.

5. Care by giving an unexpected gift of blessing.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an unexpected gift of blessing, whether physical or financial, it can be a great encouragement.

Feel free to add your own ideas to this list for how to show care. The bottom line is that care comes from a desire to practice what scripture teaches.

Proverbs 22:9 says, “He who has a generous eye will be blessed.”

Look for opportunities to be generous.
Start with those who are near.
Do what’s helpful.
Practice care until it becomes a way of life.

Kelly and I love to hear how God is working in your life or how we can pray for you. Feel free to send us a direct message at to let us know.

Remember, God is for you, and we are too!

P.S. — Check out Part 2 of our sermon series Religious Like Jesus.