I have this Chinese evergreen plant in my kitchen that I've had for several years now. It's small and only produces about 5 leaves at a time, which is very minimal compared to a typical Chinese evergreen, but I enjoy seeing and caring for it as it was a kind gift to me. It's low maintenance...it only needs a pot of dirt, water about every 2 weeks and nourishing sunshine in a warm place. I recently got out of the hospital after being inpatient for six weeks. When I got home, I began the lengthy process of putting things away, organizing my medications, cleaning out my fridge, and tending to my two plants: my little ponytail palm and the Chinese evergreen. However, when I went to look at the status of my plants after getting home, I noticed my Chinese evergreen was partially uprooted due to the dirt being so dry, the green leaves were wilting, and overall, it was looking very miserable. It was in such bad shape that it almost appeared unsalvageable. I decided I would give it my best shot for revival. I picked it back up from it's tilted angle so that it was firmly anchored upright in the pot, rerooted it deeper into the dirt, pruned a wilted leaf off it, and I gently packed moist dirt around the stem and root for stability and hydration. Surprisingly, this small effort of care seemed to do the trick. The following day, it was looking much better...greener, sturdier, and even had a fresh leaf coming from the top. Tender, tangible care and rerooting and straightening the stalk of the plant was all it needed to begin to heal and grow again.
This situation got me thinking that us humans are often like my Chinese evergreen. Sometimes, during trials specifically, we can be neglected or even with proper care, it's still not enough to help us thrive and continue living well for the Lord and to love others. We wilt and withdraw, become partially uprooted from Christ, dry out in our faith, and seem irreparable physically, emotionally and mentally. To the human eye, we may seem too far gone for any comeback or we may even look okay on the outside. Yet, it is our responsibility as the body of Christ to build up and to help push each back into the upright position...re-root one another in truth and Jesus...and tangibly attend to the human needs of one another.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
It is of great value to encourage one another in faith through sharing of Scriptures and praying for recovery and healing of their body, mind and spirit. When sharing truth from the Lord, lies from the devil and ourselves begin to dissolve. Scripture has the living power to soothe the soul, bring light to darkness, and pour peace upon a restless mind. Gently and lovingly help those who are broken in your life to affix their eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. When one is so downtrodden that they can't even pick themselves up from the muck and mire, it is our responsibility to come alongside them and help remind them that the Shepherd's rod and staff will comfort us and keep us walking in His will in the path He has chosen and laid out, even if their circumstances continue to be crushing to both them and you as a bystander.
"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." ~ Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
We must tend to the physical needs in one's life, not only inject encouragement through words and reminders of Scripture and God's promises. See, if one's physical needs are unmet, the spiritual and mental encouragement will not fall upon the most fertile ground. Recall how Jesus fed the 5,000 at his time of teaching, washed the dirty feet of His disciples, filled the widow's jar with oil so she could make bread, gave Elijah a much needed period of sleep and food, cooked and fed His disciples breakfast after His resurrection, and stooped to fellowship with even the lowliest of all (highly regarded in His heart, but regarded as lowly in society's mind). He tended to the people's individual needs in a tangible way, and also ministered to their hearts through His truth. Just like my Chinese evergreen needed to be pushed back upright and rerooted, it also needed the gentle, tangible treatment of water, repositioning of the stem, and adjusting the wooden pot towards the sunny window. When one of our brothers or sisters in Christ or someone who does not yet know Jesus is struggling and there is a opportunity to help them tangibly, we should do so with joy with what resources we have! Perhaps they need groceries or errands run, help cleaning their home or watching their kids, financial assistance with covering a car repair, clothes, gas money, a medical bill, companionship if they are lonely in the hospital or at home, a surprise care package dropped at their door, or a friend to cry and chat with over a cup of coffee. Look around you and take notice of those who are suffering visibly, those who have suffered recently or suffer chronically, or are suffering invisibly with a smile on their face as even recent and silent suffering can continue to wreck havoc on their mind and heart, and I guarantee you that deep down they are weary and in need of some kind of tangible help. If help is declined, think of something that might cheer their spirits anyway. There are so many around us who have lost dear things in life, whether it be our health, a job, a relationship, a home or something else that was meaningful, and though we cannot mend someone's brokenness or heal their pain, we can help come alongside and give of ourselves and our resources for the glory of God and love of others.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." ~ Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
Even more so, ask of the Lord to give from His resources as He is omnipotent and omniscient, having all power to give and take away as He sees fit. Trust and believe that the Lord will provide for His children's needs, but many times, we are His vessel through which He will provide for those in need. Water one another, reroot one another, and reposition one another to face the Son.
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19 (ESV)