Updated: Sep 22, 2019
"Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth" 2 Samuel 4 vs. 4
The Kunle Ilori Life Foundation (KILF) through it’s TOUCH (To Offer Upliftment Care & Hope) initiative cares specifically to widows and children without fathers. They focus on ensuring that widows are able to feed their families, they also emphasize educating the children.
I play a role within the foundation and I often wonder if what we do really helps, I wonder if we achieve the goals we mean to achieve. Does periodically giving out food and money to the needy really strengthen them or does it make them more dependent on others, making them much more vulnerable to the vices of deceptive philanthropy. Is it more helpful to give few people money to pay school fees (which they prefer) or partner directly with schools to take in the needy.
To question good intentions and actions of people may seem insensitive or unappreciative to their good deeds. But these questions are critical, it is important to care for those in need, it is equally important to ensure that our actions of care do not actually disable those we care about. Mephibosheth’s nurse had the best intention, she saved him from being killed - a real danger but she crippled him for life in the process.
Everyone in a position to care must learn from this story, as we take action to save others from the danger we see, we need to also ensure that we are not creating further problems down the line.
This is the assignment. Save from immediate danger and don’t cripple, also go one step forward to empower.
The bible offers insight to how we can fulfill our assignments from the stories of both Moses & Jesus. Both babies were in danger of being killed by an insecure king worried about his kingdom being overthrown (just like Mephibosheth). Two lessons from what they did:
They depended on God for instructions on how to help. We learn this especially from Jesus’ parents who got directions on what was coming, when to leave, where to go and what route to take. The arrangement may not have been ideal for them as parents - raising their child in Egypt (the land of slavery) may even have seemed in direct contrast to God’s plan (from their points of view). But they obeyed God and things turned out well.
The help they offered was hand’s on. Moses’ sister offered to be nurse, Jesus grew up with his parents. Being involved goes a long way. Very often, people we intend to help by offering hand-outs make wrong decisions simply because their mindsets have been framed by their current view of the world. They would make better decisions with more guidance. Sometimes we need to go beyond just giving. There are many ways involvement helps but from the perspective of people: Mentoring, discipling and training can go a long way in the transformation especially of people.
We all should care about others and showing that we care matters. What we do because we care also matter because decisions that we make today can (and often do) affect those we care about in more ways than we expect.