Can You Help Me?

Can you help me? I’m working on something and I’ve love your input.

Here’s some background.

I’ve never met someone who doesn’t want to do some sort of good in the world. A lot of the people I meet want to be helpful. They want to be kind and encourage others.

You don’t have to look very far to see how badly the world needs good. We hear reports of human trafficking and murder, of terrorist plots and bullying. In fact, it can be so overwhelming that we…


wordswag_1472061528674But I have this conviction: The way to help everyone is to help someone. It doesn’t have to be some over-the-moon superstar project that puts you in a history textbook alongside Martin Luther King Jr or Mother Teresa.

But it has to be something.

Here’s where I need your help.

This autumn at Westminster I’m leading a series of Sunday messages called “The Good Life – Why settle for “the good life” when you can have a great one?” (Click here to read more about it .) One of the things I’m going to share as a part of that series is a list of tangible, practical, down-to-earth ideas for how people can help and serve others.

This is where you come in.

I’d love it if you would this question for me: What is one thing you’ve done that has helped or served someone in a practical way?

You can…

  • comment on this blog
  • leave a comment on social media
  • send me a private message, or
  • email me

I’ll share many of your ideas on a Sunday – and I’ll also blog about them so all of you can download the full list.

Not sure what I’m asking? Here are some examples:

  • “I keep a lookout for new people in the neighbourhood and bring them homemade muffins as a way to say ‘Welcome!'”
  • “I cut my neigbhour’s grass when they’re away”
  • “I always keep an envelope of money in the car for homeless people”
  • “Two of our neighbours don’t have cars so I’m kind of on call when they need to go to the hospital or something important”
  • “Every Saturday morning we clean up the park”
  • “I often buy the coffee for the guy behind me in the Tim Horton’s drive-thru”

I really feel strongly that the way to help everyone is to help someone. And sometimes we just need a few ideas from other people to kick-start our gumption so that we don’t… freeze.

Plus, there’s this: When you help someone, not only can you be used by God to bless others, but God can use others to bless you.

Can you send me your answer? I hope so! Trust me, we’ll all benefit.

What is one thing you’ve done that has helped or served someone in a practical way?


  1. Two things: The first that came to mind was a one-time thing that happened quite a few years ago. (1) A woman I knew who was in her 60s had decided she wanted to study for the ministry and had applied to the Religious Studies Faculty at McGill and been turned down. I was able to help her compose a letter of appeal, and she was then accepted. (2) A few years later, I was laid off from my job, which was located away from the downtown area. As I spent a lot of time downtown job hunting for the first time in several years, I began to see numbers of needy people in the streets and metro stations. I realised how close any one of us may be to that situation and resolved that as soon as I was working again I would never pass such a person without helping. Though I confess I have not stuck to this 100% of the time, I do put nearly all of my loonies and toonies into a special change purse, and sooner or later they find their way into the hands of someone who needs them.


  2. I work with inner city students (usually 2nd grade) during the school year.  I am a “Bucket Buddy” who combines literacy support with friendship once a week. In order to reach out to the rest of the children who do not have a BB, I conduct a five week Junior Achievement initiative for the entire class which focuses on their community ~ the jobs and services in the community. Hopefully it gets these children thinking about their futures and considering (yes, at age 7) the direction that speaks to their personal strengths. I always participate in the planning and execution of a community wide outreach program twice a year!

    At Westminster Presbyterian Church (yes, Westminster Dayton) we have one particular outreach which is held in the Spring and another in the Fall. We send out church members to a number of not-for-profit organizations who are in need of some extra help ~ painting, gardening, assembling (e.g. notebooks for teachers through our local Crayons to Classrooms), etc. Through our Dayton Rotary Club I was able to raise enough money to send an inner city high school student as well as myself to Guatemala to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity in building 2 homes. Mentoring a junior or senior can help them talk about things that they may not share with another person.  These students have not been out of Dayton, OH ~ nor in a plane for most of them ~ and how it broadens their outlook is amazing. Our church also sends out  multi-generational groups to help in areas that have faced natural disasters.  I am known for my organizational skills so I often end up creating some source of normalcy out of chaos!  Between Guatemala and our own USA, it’s always heart warming to meet and work with those we serve.  Even after our help is given, I am amazed how much these people give back and continue to labor on against so many odds stacked against them.  As is often the case, I feel so much more blessed than those we have served. Buying school supplies for children this time of year and coats in a couple of months is another project of Rotary that I participate in every year!  Just knowing that a brightly colored pencil or a “hoodie” will be used by a student is meaningful to me.  I’ve been in the classroom long enough to know that those items are often in short supply. Being a Church Partner to two home-bound members of our congregation puts me in touch with folks whose lives are very one dimensional.  I try to bring humor into their lives while they experience so much sameness in their everyday lives!  One Partner is 102 and I feel privileged to be a tiny part of her long life! I have several friends who suffer from chronic depression.  I reach out to them as a good listening post.  I know they sometimes feel like social outcasts and it is my personal goal to keep them “going.”  I am so lucky to have a spouse who sees “three’s company” as an extension of our love and compassion! I have two friends whose mothers were my mother’s best friends.  We all miss our mothers very much and even while that is the “cord that binds us” ~ while I am much older than them, I feel somewhat like a mother hen who provides them a little bit of the mother they miss! This month I encouraged my husband to donate his high school clarinet to a music program sponsored by our Dayton Philharmonic organization.  They will see that it is given to an aspiring musician who will breathe new life it!  I hope to see the “licorice stick” at a concert this year in our Arts Magnet school! Everyday is filled with opportunities to make my space a better place.  I am a product of parents who reached these shores via Ellis Island in 1920.  They demonstrated the art of giving and sharing!  Their gratitude to this country for all they had was a tangible reality for me growing up.  I love this quote, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

    Matt, I don’t know if any of this will be of use to you!  Good luck with your classes…I hope to read about them!  Susie Weaver


  3. Free babysitting offered to a new Mom so she and her hubby could enjoy some time out together without having to pay for childcare, participating in clothing and food drives in my congregation, writing reference letters when asked… those are ones that easily come to mind.


  4. I live in a huge manse, and frequently offer a room to people who are passing through. Usually, but not always, they are clergy. Sometimes, I have people come and stay for several days. There is no sense of obligation on any of our parts. I give them a house key, and they come and go as they please. I show them the kitchen, and tell them to eat whatever appeals to them. I prepare an evening meal for all of us to share, but other than that, I leave them alone.


  5. I host an inner city children from the Bronx every summer through a program called The Fresh Air Fund. He loves helping with barn chores and having fun with my son.
    I also always carry change in my pocket in case someone needs help.


  6. Matthew, it’s not much but when I am out running early in the morning on the rural roads near my house, I keep an eye out for fallen limbs, debris or litter that may cause my neighbors to have to get out of their cars or off their mowers to move. At a minimum, I move the objects out of the way and when practical, I bring trash back home to dispose.


  7. 3 Things:

    1. If you aren’t able to hand out money to people who may need it on the streets, carry around some granola bars and dog cookies in your backpack to give to our neighbours (of all legs) something to eat.

    2. If you can shovel one driveway, I bet you can do two! See if in one winter you can shovel everyone’s driveway or sidewalk on your block at least once.

    3. Pay for a child to go to an overnight camp for a week. Matthew and I can recommend a few 😉


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