One thing I learned as a music therapist is that it isn’t always easy to provide the care the client really needs. It is so much easier to provide a service that helps the symptoms on the surface; however, when I was a therapist writing out goals and objectives for my clients I had to dig deeper and look at the cause of the symptom. Sometimes, in order to reach the long-term objective those surface issues needed to be taken care of first, but I often found that if I treated the issue causing the symptoms therapy was much more effective for my clients. Today’s story reminds me of that because Peter and John chose to by-pass what was on the surface and dug deeper to give a man something better. Please look up Acts 3:1-10.
Peter and John were going to the temple for their afternoon prayer time when a beggar asked for money. This man was begging for money because he couldn’t earn money due to his physical condition. Peter saw that this man needed more than money; he needed healing. So Peter prayed and the man and his feet and ankles were instantly strong and he jumped up. The man began praising God and went into the temple with Peter and John. Can you imagine the scene? He was “walking and jumping and praising God.” There is an important lesson here that is beyond the amazing healing power of God; sometimes in order to help someone we don’t give them what they ask for, we give them something better.
I have mentioned this in a past post, but the book, When Helping Hurts Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert explains how we sometimes do not provide what people really need but we provide what they want on the surface. For example, we could just give money to someone struggling in another country and we will find that we will always need to give them money in order to keep surviving. A better way to help may be to give them a micro loan to start a business and teach them sound financial business practices and they will be able to provide for their family for life. My church is currently running an instrument drive (ZIP Drive – Zambia Instrument Project) to help a music academy in Choma, Zambia. For each instrument collected another student is able to attend school. These children then learn life skills, obtain an education, and learn about HIV/AIDS and human trafficking prevention. This is so much better than giving the child money! They receive hope and learn of eternal hope in Christ.
When we help it is important that we look at why they need help. As I have said before, sometimes we need to treat the symptom in order to reach the heart of the matter. The Buffalo City Mission does exactly that when they provide a meal and shelter to the homeless. Once they have helped the problem on the surface, they begin to help the homeless turn their life around. Find an organization that doesn’t just treat symptoms but treats the problem and partner with them. That is the best way to make a difference.
Have you looked to see how you can help?