Jesus had compassion for people with all kinds of needs, including disability, sickness, ignorance and injustice. Churches, too, should be willing to help meet all kinds of needs. Though our church may have few financial resources, it has people willing to pray and show love in caring for the needs of others.

Like the Good Samaritan, Christians need to be ready to meet the needs of our ‘neighbours’, whoever they are. There are many needs around us but we should not feel so overwhelmed that we do nothing. Each of us can make a real difference to the lives of others.

Sometimes needs may be very practical. Widows, orphans or those with disabilities may need help in their homes. The church may be able to encourage local government or organisations to help improve water supplies, healthcare or education. Improving literacy skills may increase people’s confidence. Young people under pressure to use drugs or take part in sex for financial reasons may find discussion and support groups helpful in understanding their options.

Where people face injustice, such as over access to land or unfair exploitation at work, the church could find experienced advisers to help defend the rights of those with little or no power.

  • Read Luke 10:25-37. Who in the community are our neighbours? What needs do they have? How does Jesus tell us to love our neighbours?
  • What are the challenges we may find in loving our neighbours? How can we help each other overcome these challenges?
  • Our upbringing can make it hard for us to relate to certain groups of people – those of different age, level of education, caste, tribal group, or those who are very poor. How can we overcome these feelings? How can we help our children to grow up able to relate to people of all kinds?
  • Through prayer, God can give us real insight and wisdom into different situations. How can we know whether such guidance is of God, or simply our own thinking?
  • What additional skills or resources do we need to enable us to help people?
  • What difference can we make in helping people in our community without lots of training or hiring expensive ‘experts’?