Craig Groeschel - Needy People
Hey welcome today to all of our life churches our open network churches our family all over the world, at church online. We are in part three of a four part messageseries called relational vampires, what in the world is a relational vampire? You know what a vampire does, a vampire sucks your blood well we're talking about relational vampires. How do we love the people that suck the life out of us? Week number one we talked about controlling and manipulative people, last week we talked about those who are very critical. Next week we have a very very powerful teaching on how do we deal with hypocritical people? Those people in our lives or around us that claim one thing but their lives are actually something else, what do we do? Do we have a right or an obligation to speak into their lives? We'll talk about that next week.
Today what I wanna do is talk about how do we love the people that can be overly needy? The people that we really do care about them but they always need a little more than we're able to give them. In fact there is a spiritual principle and I've told you before, in every group, every family, every small group, every sorority, every team there is always at least one needy crazy person. In fact the Bible says that wherever two or three are gathered, at least one of them crazy or something like that. how many of you would agree there's always a crazy person? Raise your hand, leave your hands up leave 'em up leave 'em up I want you to look at the people who do not have their hands in the air right now. just look at that person and tell them there's always a crazy one. How do we deal with those people who are always in need? How do we love and care for those who are hurting that need a little extra attention or always in need of help?
You know when you see them, the conversation's gonna take a little while longer than some of the other conversations. You know they'll often kind of dominate and as often you may hear the same story that you heard the last time, sometimes they're negative, they're always a victim, when you do something for them you do it out of the kindness of your own heart but it's often not enough. You give and they seem to want even more. It could be your relative that you really do love but this person's mostly all alone and really needs more support. It could be the guy in the life group that just doesn't have a whole lot of friends or your buddy that's always in need of more money and more money and just a little bit more money a little more money or the insecure person at the office that's always fishing for compliments, do you like this? Did I do good? Always needing a little more.
It could be your friend who is the hot mess or always on the struggle bus if you know somebody right now, do not point at them just look forward and pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. It's complicated because as followers of Christ, we really really care about these people and we wanna help but whatever we do, doesn't seem to be enough. Then if we start to pull back to regroup, then we feel guilty because we're leaving them stranded or in need. We wanna help them but if we help them in the wrong way, then it ends up actually hurting them and can hurt us, how do we love those who are always in need in a way that actually does lift them up without hurting them? And that's what I wanna talk about today.
We're gonna look at three big thoughts on how do we help others without actually hurting them? The first thought if you're taking notes is this and I pray that this will sink into your spirit. Number one, when we give, we want to give strategically. We wanna give strategically, we wanna help them strategically because most of the time we give not strategically but most of the time we give emotionally. We see a need and because we care, we just react and do the first thing that seems easy, convenient or something that actually makes us feel good when we help them because emotionally we engage when someone's in need, we do what feels good or even relieves our guilt. What do we wanna do? We wanna give strategically so instead of focusing on just what they want, or what gives us relief relieve our guilt, instead we wanna ask what do they really need? What will genuinely help? Not just in the moment but what would help them long term. This isn't emotional giving, this is prayerful and strategic giving. We wanna give prayerfully and strategically not just emotionally.
In fact Peter and John really did this in a brilliant way when one day they were walking by the temple gate and there was a man there that was in serious need, he was unable to walk and so every day perhaps some friends or family members would help carry this guy down to the gate so that he could beg and people would give him money and that's what he wanted and people would give him exactly what the guy wanted. When they came along, this is what happened, chapter three starting in verse three, scripture says this. When this guy who was in need, when I saw Peter and John about to enter, what did he do? Let's all say it aloud, what did he do? He asks them for money. Peter then looks straight at him as did John, then Peter said look at us, look at us so the man gave them his attention and what was he expecting? He was expecting to get something from them.
What did he do, was that those who were really needy know? That if you ask long enough if you are consistent and persistent eventually there's someone who will emotionally respond to you and they will give you what you're asking for even if what you're asking for isn't really what you need. Because this guy had learned every single day that if he just relied on others they would carry him to the gate where he would sit there and he would ask give me what I want and someone would come along and they would feel guilty and so they would do what is easy which is give him a little bit of money and that would help relieve their guilt and that would give the guy what he wanted when it was never really what he needed. What do we do? We just kinda do what's easy often and helps us feel better. Think about it. What did the guy want? The answer is easy, the guy wanted money. What would've been easy to give? The answer is money.
Toss him a little loose change we feel good about ourselves, look how holy I am, I just gave him what he wanted and we go on our way feeling emotionally better but what Peter and John didn't do is they didn't respond emotionally but led by the spirit under the power of God they didn't give the guy what he wanted but instead they gave the guy what they needed. And this is how the story goes, then Peter said. "Silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk". what's the miracle? Taking him by the right hand what did he do? Scripture says he helped him up and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. What did he do? Instead of giving a hand out, what he did is he gave the guy a miraculous hand up. It's so easy to give a hand out but what they take more time, may take more faith, may take more effort, may take a little more prayer, may take a little more sacrifice is not just to give a hand out which is easy and feels good but to give a hand up and rather than giving what somebody wants we actually offer them what they need.
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I could give you what you're asking for or I could give you what God wants you to have which is far more than you ever even dreamed. of asking. And that's why we wanna be led by the spirit. God show me what it is that you want me to do and we're going to give strategically as God leads us. Now what a needy person's going to do, the moment you start to try to give them what is really really want is say, well well well, if you really loved me. You'd give me, blank. If you really love me, you'd give me attention. If you really loved me, you'd give me time. If you really loved me, you'd give me money. Because that's what I want but what we need to have the wisdom and the real love to do is to say because I love you, I'm not just giving you what you want but the spirit is leading me to give you what will really help, really get what you need. We're giving strategically.
What's a person gonna say? Well I really need $300 to make my car payment, I need $300 now to make my car payment and you may know well you actually just bought an Apple watch, a pair of Yeezys and you're playing Fortnite instead of getting a job, right? Anybody know that person I'm talking about? What we may say is that what you want but I'm going to help you get a job instead of sitting on the couch all day long. Well you want me to validate you. But what you need is to learn who you are in Christ, to love yourself and to accept yourself so I'm not going to continue to meet a need that I was never designed to meet. I'm gonna help you find out who you are in Christ. You want more time with me but you need to develop your own identity. You need to see that you are valuable to God and that I'm not the only one that could meet your needs, he meets your needs and uses his broader family to meet your needs.
This may be what you want but God's leading me to give you what you need. I'm not just gonna do what you want God give me wisdom to do what's right. I'm not just gonna tell you what you want to hear, but God give me the courage to lovingly say what they need to hear. I'll give you an example of this. I'm not proud of this story but you can probably relate. You've probably done something like this and out of the goodness of your own heart. There was a family that we heard about that fell on hard times. The dad was unemployed and they had a number of kids and Christmas was coming and so years ago Amy and I thought well we'll just bless them and take care of their Christmas and so we went out and we got some really nice gifts we wrapped them up in a really great way and with a good heart we drove the gifts over to their home and we came in and we presented the gifts and I thought we were gonna be real blessing to the family and don't get me wrong the kids loved it but the dad went off to the side and sat on the sofa and kinda put his head down like he was ashamed.
And what I realized was in our effort to honor him, what I really did was dishonored him, instead of helping him win in front of his kids, we unintentionally shamed him in front of his kids sending the message that your dad wasn't capable of doing this so some other people came in and got it done in his place. It was, done with a good heart but it wasn't truly helping. What would've been so much better might have been to say to the dad, you know hey what do you have saved up? And so if he said I can come up with $100 say, well I'd like to match that and give you extra money to go shopping for your own kids. Or to say, what kind of work can you do on you know, I can do stuff around the house and maybe say would you like to come do some work for me and blessed him generously for a good day's work. What the guy needed was dignity what I gave him was toys. And we need to be very very prayerful and say God lead me.
It's so easy when we see someone in need is to do what's easy and makes us feel good but what's right may take more wisdom, more discernment more time, more sacrifice, but because we're followers of Christ we don't just go and relieve an immediate need we wanna give a hand up not just a hand out. If this is speaking to you can somebody say Amen? at our churches. We have to get this right. We're followers of Christ we are the family of God. How do we administer to someone who's always in need? Number one, we give strategically. Number two, we serve wisely. We serve wisely. Look at the way Jesus cared for people what did he do? He served selflessly. He loved authentically. He gave generously. He taught faithfully. He listened compassionately. Then he would step off go aside to reconnect with God to recharge spiritually and then go serve faithfully again. You see this rhythm over and over and over again in the life of Jesus. I give out, I give out I give out, I give out. I unplug, I go and then receive from my father so I'm pouring out of a full cup not an empty one. This is God filling me back up.
So I can continue to give. Well what do we need to know? In order for you to keep giving out at some point you have to stop to fill back up. Here's the way it's said in scripture, Mark Chapter one starting in verse 35, very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Just me and God, just me and God. Simon and his companions went to look for Jesus. What I'm about tot ell you is exactly what happens to moms who go to the bathroom for a break from the kids. Am I talking to any moms that know what I mean? He went off to the place and Simon was like, Jesus where are you? Jesus where are, we need you Jesus we need you Jesus. When they found him they exclaimed, everyone is looking for you. What do you do? You going to the bathroom, you shut the door a moment of privacy and the next thing you hear is Mom, Mom where are you? You're quiet, you don't breath out loud the next thing you know, fingers go underneath the door.
Everyone's looking for ya Mom, everyone's looking for ya. What do you need to do? You need to unplug a little bit. But what happens when you're on an airplane? What do they always tell ya? If the plane loses altitude and you need oxygen the oxygen mask drop down, what are you to do first? You put the mask on you and then you choose which kid you wanna put it on next. I'll leave you for last you get the oxygen, alright. You put it on your face first because if you're not healthy, you can't keep your children healthy. Think about the story that Jesus told is know as The Good Samaritan. There is a guy that gets beat up and he's left half dead and a Samaritan comes along and is helping this guy which is out of extraordinary story nobody could believe this Samaritan would help a Jewish guy anyway but it's a beautiful story and the Samaritan then bandages up the guy who's in need, he cares for him and then he put some oil on his wound and then this guy puts the injured man on his own donkey, travels across town and takes him to a hotel room. He says, you take care of this guy I'll pay you the money and then the Samaritan says I'll come back later and help in any way that I can.
Think about this. Where did he go and why did he leave? The answer is I'm not sure because Jesus didn't tell us in the story but I can assume one of a couple of things. Either he went back to mamma or his wife, his kids or he went back to work. Because when you work, you get paid and when you get paid you can pay someone else's hotel build when they're in trouble. What did he do? He went back and in some form or fashion did what he had to do to keep his health moving so that he would be in a posture to help someone else when they were in need. Every now and then you have to unplug. I had a person tell me this one time I never will forget it, they said Craig, you can't say yes often if you don't say no occasionally. This is so good, Amy I'm gonna say it again because this is good. you can't say yes often if you don't say no occasionally. How do you help someone who's in need? You want to be able to pour out of a full cup because once your cup is empty you've got nothing to give so we're going to give strategically, and we're going to serve wisely and then number three, we're going to trust completely. We're going to trust completely.
God, we're going to do what we know you lead us to do then we're going to trust you God with the results because you are always faithful God, you lead us and will do what you prompt us to do but God we're trusting the consequences to you. Here's the problem. It's insulting and dangerous for me to ever think I am someone else's answer. It is insulting and dangerous for you to think that you are the source that meets somebody else's need. It is dishonoring to God to say that we are necessary in every case to see that every need is met. We are not someone else's answer, Jesus is the answer. We are the delivery system but he's the power. We are the conduit, he's the power. The problem is if you think God needs you to fix everyone else, your God is too small. if you think you're necessary in every way, you might be short circuiting the process that God is already doing because you keep rescuing someone when he set up natural consequences to teach them that you will reap what you sow how often do you think we might interfere with the very thing that God is doing?
Let me say it again. If you think God needs you to fix everybody else, your God is way too small. Paul said it this way, he was teaching about our actions and the spiritual consequences in Gelation six, verse seven he said, don't be deceived. God cannot be mocked. And then he said a man reaps what he sows. A man gets back what he plants. Whoever sows to please their flesh their sinful nature from the flesh will reap destruction. This is God's principle of the harvest. Then he said, the good news, whoever sows to please the spirit from the spirit will reap eternal life we do what's right, we help prayerfully and then we trust the consequences to God in the lives of the people that we love. This is a principle that is true all through scripture, there are consequences to behavior.
In fact I love the story that Jesus told in Luke's Gospel, Luke 15 is known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. What happened is there was a dad that had two sons, the younger son said Dad, essentially I'd rather you die but since you're not gonna die I just want what's coming to me later and I want it now. Give me your money, I wanna go party. And the dad ended up granting the son his request, the son went out and broke his father's heart. He dishonored every value that the family had he lived a wild, sinful life I mean if it was today he's out there smoking the funny weed, you know he's dancing late at the parties with the wrong kind of whatever you know I mean he's getting after it. And the father prayed every day the father watched every day. The father hoped every day you know what the father never did? The father never rescued the son. He loved him enough to let the son end up in the pig pen. Eating the stuff that pigs eat.
When the son finally went, hmm this isn't working very good and scripture said, he came to his senses. His sinful decisions took him to a place that made him realize even my father's servants have more than this. Maybe I should go back and apologize to Dad and see if he'll take me back, even as a servant, I know I'm unworthy but he came to his senses. The father loved the son enough to let the God-given consequences actually play out in his life so that the son would come to a place where he would come to his senses. What we need to understand is this, rescuing is not always helping. Momma, I'm talking to you. Daddy I'm talking to you. Rescuing isn't always helping. Sister you're helping her all the time, rescuing isn't always helping. Listen, if she's always late to work every day and you are the alarm clock, they may need to lose their job that's how they're gonna learn to get up and be responsible on their own.
Listen, if somebody's partying their brains out all day long and they may lose their scholarship they may need to lose their scholarship to recognize there are consequences to this type of behavior. If someone continues to charge up debt, go on a vacation and then the person the outfits and the car and then they can't make their rent payment there's one way to learn to make your rent payment and that's not to buy a Gucci purse you know in the first place. Sometimes you have to let people and this sounds cruel, this is not cruel this is actually a very loving thing to do because rescuing is not always the same as helping. My mom did this, she'll tell you the story oh she'll tell you the story. She'll tell you some stories I don't want her to tell you but she'll tell you 'em. When I was in college and fell into the wild life I went out with the guys from my team and we shaved our head and I got my ear pierced, yes that's right and there's still a little hole right here.
And I beer bonged so many beers that it was ridiculous then I drank hard liquor then I got arrested and you know the list goes on and on and what she did was she wrote me a note and drew a line in the sand and said this breaks my heart, I'm so sorry but you cannot act this way and receive the blessings and benefits of being my son. The $200 a month that I was sending you, you're not getting any more. I'll always love you, I'll always pray for you. Then she said, if you get arrested I will not be there. I got arrested, she was not there and she went on and on and on and she said it was really really hard for me but what she did was she loved me enough not to rescue me out of my bad decisions, I hit the bottom I came to my senses, I was so low I could only look up. I looked up to the one who was above all, called on his name and said if you are there I need your help and because she let me hit those consequences, I came to a place where I recognized my need and the only one who could meet the need that I had for life and forgiveness was Jesus and I called on him.
So thank you momma and I hope you're proud. because we got there, it was a long road there but we got there, we got there. What I hope you'll do is you'll always help from a posture of humility. Never arrogance, I'm here to meet your need, I'm here to save the day. I heard one guy say, well this is my project person you're always gonna have a project person no listen to me, listen to me, people in need are not projects we help they're people that we love. They're people that we love. We love in the name of Jesus they're not projects that we help because ultimately one day you're gonna realize you're in need too. We're all in need. We're all in need. Oh I love to see the different types of need because when I'm exposed to one type of need, then I see the other type of need in my life.
Like when I go to a very very poor nation where they don't have anything, running water, electricity, a sanitary place to use the restroom and I sit back there and I go I'm gonna help them, you know I've got so much to bring to them and then I start looking going, wait a minute they've got something I don't have there's like peace and there's joy and there's this contentment and like well they might be in material need but I'm in some sort of spiritual relational need and then instead of seeing myself as the one who meets someone else's need or someone else who meets my need, suddenly I start to realize as part of the family of God, we just continue to point each other to Jesus to Jesus to Jesus and then Jesus is the one that meets our needs.
And suddenly I realized that I can't really experience his presence as well on my own, as I can when I'm with you. Because a personal relationship with Jesus is good but I'm convinced a shared one is even better. When either two or three come together in his name he's there in a different way. You can pray for me from a distance and that's powerful, but if we lock hands and pray together there's something more that happens. Suddenly we're mutually in need, we're mutually broken centers going before the savior and suddenly he's lifting you and he's lifting me and I'm not better I'm just helping give you a hand up at this moment and you're helping give me a hand up in some other moment and there we are as the body of Christ, mutually needing the healing power of our God and finding it and enjoying it together. This is what David said, he said as for me I am poor and needy come quickly to me God, you are my help you are my deliver, Lord do not delay.
So in any moment we look at someone else and say I'm here to help meet their needs. No I'm just here to point them to Jesus and in the same way they might help me find Jesus and when Jesus uses me to give them a hand up I have the blessing of knowing that God uses me as an instrument in the same way that he might use them as an instrument in my life to bring a voice of encouragement to me, a word of hope or a sense of being a part of a broader family, broken people in the presence of a good God and that is how you love and care for needy people and that's how we want people to care for us. Equally broken, equally needy people and that's how we make Jesus known in the way we love because when the world looks on, they're not gonna believe that we're followers of Christ by our theology.
Oh they've got perfect theology and it won't be by our style of worship, I wanna be a Christian 'cause they've got contemporary worship, no. They will know that we're followers of Christ by the way we love one another. The best witness we have is always our love. So father today we ask that in the name of your son Jesus, you would meet needs God and help us to point one another to Christ and all of our churches today. Those of you that would say help me be better at pointing people to Jesus. Help me love those appropriately who are in need would you lift up your hands right now? All of our churches.
God I thank you for a church full of generous minded, kingdom minded people who want to help. God give us a heart that breaks for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see needs, even when we pass someone God who says they're okay, God give us the supernatural sense of when someone needs a word of life, a gift of encouragement, a hand up rather than a hand out. God I pray, that you would give us wisdom to see all that you have given us ways that we can meet needs, God practically and spiritually, give us wisdom God give us wisdom, not just to do what's easy or feels good, but God help us to give what truly transforms lives and ultimately God, may we humble ourself and recognize that we're all in need. I thank you God for these amazing people and we gather together to corporately lift up your name to unite our hands together, together in life groups to serve as the body of Christ, recognizing that your church gathers together to give you honor and give you praise, God bless your church bless your people. Empower us God to show your love that the non-believing world would look on and say I want a little bit of what they have. And we would help them know that what we have is your son Jesus. Make it so in the way that we love.
As you keep praying today and all of our different churches, guess what, there's some amazing news. The amazing news is that many of you you're gonna recognize that you are in spiritual need. This is where I was when I hit rock bottom morally I was hurting I was aching I was looking for anything that would meet the needs of my life and there was nothing, no high no party no relationship no amount of money no experience, nothing because inside of me there is a Christ-shaped void that nothing of this earth could fill because I was not created for earth but for heaven eternally and I had to open myself up that Jesus is the one that could meet my need. Who is Jesus? He is the sinless son of God, perfect in every way.
Why did God send Jesus? Because we are in need, all of us. We are all sinners. We've all sinned against a holy God and the problem is we can't be good enough we can't save ourselves no matter how hard we work, we can never earn our way to God's favor and that's what the Gospel means good news, God sent his son his perfect son who is without sin who was the sacrifice, the lamb of God slaying for the sins of this world. Jesus died in our place, God raised him from the dead so that anyone and this includes you, no matter who you are no matter how much you're hurting no matter how dark your life is, anyone who calls on the name of the Lord would be saved and all of our churches there are those of you, you know it, you can sense it.
You're not watching by accident at church online you're not in a building because you just wandered in you're here because God brought you here, you're in spiritual need and Jesus is about to meet that need, all of our churches those who say yes, I need his grace. I need his forgiveness, I turn from my sins I turn toward him, Jesus I give my life to you. That's your prayer, lift your hands high right now. All over the place, lift them up and say yes. Church online you click right below me and as we have people at all our different churches calling on the name of Jesus would you pray with those around you, just pray.
Heavenly father, forgive my sins. Make me new. Fill me with your spirit. So I could know you. And show your love. My life. Is not my own. I give it to you. Thank you for a new life. Now you have mine. In Jesus name I pray.