“The Lord said to Abram: ‘…I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through’” (Genesis 12:1a, 3, HCSB).
Remember, God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah. But even before this, God had made Abraham a promise: “…all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
We see this again in Genesis 18:18, after God has changed their names and after they have been told that the elderly Sarah would give birth to a son: “Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.”
Don’t miss that – “…through him.” Through Christ Jesus our Lord. The God of the Impossible made an elderly childless couple a great part of the lineage of the Lion of Judah. God can do great things with ANYONE who is fully surrendered to His leadership. I pray that you are that submitted.
And now for the New Testament fulfillment. Luke records Peter addressing the crowd in the temple complex: “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your forefathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways” (Acts 3:25-26).
What had happened here? If you look back to the beginning of Acts 3, you see Peter and John on their way to the temple. At one of the gates a man born crippled has been laid to beg from passersby. He calls out to them for money, but Peter, instead of meeting his APPARENT need, meets his TRUE need: “…Peter said, I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have, I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6).
Was the crippled man’s true need to walk? No. The man needed to know Jesus. But the Lord also wanted the man to see that He could meet his physical need for healing.
We need to be careful and prayerful to look beyond people’s apparent or conceived needs and look for the true need within them. When a person doesn’t know Jesus, all the self-help programs in the world won’t fix the problem, nor will all the other helping hands or programs.
Am I saying not to meet people’s physical needs? No, I’m saying to be intelligent about how you choose to help anyone. A person who is able but won’t work doesn’t need help paying his bills so he can keep on not working – he needs encouragement and maybe some very tough love to help him get out and earn his own living.
Every situation is unique and requires prayerful consideration. Yes, we are to minister in the name of Jesus to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of others; but we are to do it in a way that honors the Lord and seeks to draw those people to Him.