Divinity in helping
We may view helping others as a lower or subservient position. But in truth it is a role that God, himself, fulfills in our life. In Psalm 54:4 David calls God his helper.
In Psalm 27:9, David praises God because he, God, has been his helper. In Psalm 46:1, the psalmist says God is an ever present help for us. So when we are helping others, we are being like God.
God directs us to help others
There are many directives in the Bible to help others.
"Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." Proverbs 19:17 (ESV)
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 1 John 3:17 (ESV)
"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)
"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38 (ESV)
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
There are so many more scriptures that can be shared on this topic and there is no question that this was the example of Jesus in healing physical ailments, forgiving sin, loving people, walking with them in their grief, teaching, spending time, etc. This is not optional for us as followers of Jesus, it is essential to our own salvation, consider this scripture.
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17
How to help others
When reading an article like this most people tend to gravitate to the part of the article that provides practicals. They look for a quick list of ideas for helping someone. You won't find that in this article, but here are some principles to help.
Immerse yourself in God's word
Be someone God can whisper to through his Holy Spirit. He does this, when we are in step with God, he puts people and actions on our hearts and if we obey his prompting, we find that God uses us to meet a need at the perfect moment. This is not always easy. Sometimes this is a battle with our fleshly nature. We may push down those promptings when the still quiet words say, "You should call that person," or whatever nudging we receive. If we keep pushing those thoughts down and away, we lose touch with them and with God and his Spirit.
Listen for the needs
When you learn of a difficulty someone is going through, think about the person and the situation, and ask yourself, "What would I need in a similar circumstance?" Maybe you will need to do the laundry; take care of their children; have coffee and just talk with them; or, have a time with God together of reading the word of God and praying.
You'll know best what the needs are if you visit with them and talk to them. If you talk and listen, you can hear the deeper needs that someone has.
I had a period of extended illness some years ago and had one friend who was amazing. She would just jump in and do whatever she saw as a need. At one point, it came out that my head was muddled during what was going on and I was paying my bills late. She offered to help me by taking it over for a bit. She got that under control and then automated some payments for me etc. That released an incredible burden from my shoulders, larger than I realized. Our inability to perform such tasks can become a point of shame for us.