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creamer column Our faith challenges us to find someone in need to help

Last week we had the senior awards program at school.
It is a nice ceremony that honors the students receiving numerous scholarships and some faculty awards.
It seems that every school I have been a part
of has these programs to honor the graduating seniors.
The program seems long at times, but it is amazing to hear about all the scholarships that the students have won.
This year we came very close to hitting the million-dollar mark on the money our students have earned for college. It’s amazing that at a school of our size we could earn that much money for our student body.
It’s hard work and time-consuming to apply for these awards. Many of the scholarships also require the students to participate in an interview.
The scholarships range from a few hundred dollars to a full ride at a major university. Some of the students received signing bonuses for entering military service. Those students receive that money as soon as they complete basic training. Some of the students who signed up with the military will go on to college under the GI Bill and will receive their education free in exchange for military service after they graduate from college.
One of the scholarships that sounded interesting to me is one called “People Helping People.” This scholarship recognizes the recipient’s leadership skills, character, integrity and community involvement. We should all be willing to help others; actually, it’s a biblical concept. Our faith challenges us to find a way to help someone in need.
I’m not advocating helping people who are making no attempt to help themselves; but rather, assisting those who are trying to better their lives and the lives of others.
Helping people in need can be a very difficult line to walk. Some people don’t want help, while others want help but don’t want to change. It’s like giving someone something to meet a basic need but not giving them the tools to change their circumstances. I understand that sometimes you have to meet the basic needs while you are helping the individual change their circumstance and improve their lives.
I believe Jesus expects us to change when he offers us his help. Consider the woman caught in adultery. He offered her forgiveness but told her to “go and sin no more.”
When Jesus called Peter to become a disciple, he said, “Come and follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” In this situation, Jesus offers Peter a new lease on life, but it required Peter to change the way he was leading his life. When Jesus helped someone, it seems there was an expectation that those people would turn around and help others.
At school, all of our clubs and organizations are expected to do some community outreach. There are so many things our students do, including working at the soup kitchen, going to the retirement homes, helping at the children’s home, giving kids Christmas presents, working on Habitat homes and many other service projects.
We as a school are trying to teach our students the importance of giving back to the community and hopefully teaching them to be lifelong givers and servers of the less fortunate.
We have all seen and been touched at some point about disasters that have occurred all around the world. I love to see how people respond to such great needs through giving blood or money to the Red Cross or finding ways to take aid to those in need. But the truth is, we don’t have to go very far from our own back door to find people in need. There are so many ways each of us can touch lives through giving our time, our talents and, yes, even a little bit of our hard-earned money to help others.
I want to encourage you to find a way that you can help someone who is in need. It doesn’t have to be financial; it might be helping a neighbor who is going through a tough time. There are so many ways we can serve others by reaching out and offering help in simple ways. Your simple act of service can have a profound affect on both you and the one receiving your help. When we reach out to help those in need, we become the hands of Jesus reaching out to a world in need.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. His website iswww.dougcreamer.com

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