READING: Deuteronomy 21-23
I’m a busy person. You’re probably busy, too. In fact, I don’t know many people who aren’t busy. Young people. Old people. Working people. Retired people. Man. Woman. Teenager. Child. We’re all busy — so busy, in fact, that we probably miss needs around us. We get so focused on where we need to go that we run past the needs in front of us along the way. Too often, we’re more like the priest and the Levite who walked past the wounded man than we are the Good Samaritan who bound up the man’s wounds (Luke 10:25-37).
That’s why these words in Deuteronomy 22 — particularly the recurrent command, “Do not ignore it” — caught my attention: “If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it. If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.” (Deut 22:1-4)
This text, while it was written to the ancient Hebrews, still speaks to us today: if you see a way to help somebody, do not ignore it. This text is a reminder that we do not live in isolation; among us are people, and people always have needs. Those needs go unmet when we choose to walk beyond them even when we see them.
I don’t know what need I’ll see today. It may be a friend who needs some help. Perhaps it’ll be a beggar on the street. It might be a broken down car on the side of the road. It may come in the form of an email or a phone call. I don’t know what it’ll be, but I do know this: I won’t be able to ignore it.
ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:
- Pay special attention to the needs of others today. Watch for opportunities to do something.
- Monitor your heart. If you’re tempted to just ignore a need, defeat that temptation. Do something to help meet that need.
- As you pray, thank God for others who would always help you.
PRAYER: “God, give me Your eyes and ears today. Bring these words to mind whenever I see a need. Remind me not to ignore it.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Deuteronomy 24-27