Come to think of it, the question is way too rare. Yet, it gets at the very heart of caring, doesn't it? Wouldn't you love to be asked that today?
I remember as a young pastor (in a traditional setting) how that question changed the dynamic in a very structured and intense meeting (we had a lot of those). Our Board was meeting with a man who had recently begun attending our church. This man was a representative from a ministry with which we were unfamiliar. So he came to the board meeting to be interrogated. We stopped just short of water-torture, as I recall. But as the man got up to leave, one of the few servant-leaders in our midst said, "One more thing. How can we help you? How can we support your ministry?" The man's shoulders suddenly relaxed as a smile hit his face. He said, "Thank you so much for asking. That means a lot to me." He sat back down and he shared with us the needs he had, both personally and in the ministry. With that one question, the mood of the room snapped into love. I think we all realized in the moment we had been asking the wrong questions. We were behaving as if we were the center of the universe and he was orbiting around us. The question "How can I help..." reoriented us all to see his needs as the point of the meeting.