A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE!

On a vacation many years ago, our young grandson saw the teeter-totter after his older brother sat on the end at ground level.  Almost instinctively, he wanted to be sitting on the other end.  Of course, the problem is that when one is sitting on the lower side, the unoccupied end is up in the air.

see saw
Papa assisting young grandson on the teeter-totter.

He didn’t know the words “A little help, please!” but he knew that his Papa would lift him high onto the teeter-totter seat.  So far so good!

But, then, after settling on the high end, he realized there was more to a teeter-totter than just sitting on the seat!  There was the weight differential between siblings and gravity was not his friend!

Once seated, he wanted to do it himself.  This was, of course, an abject impossibility since he could not even hold himself steady, but he didn’t realize that.  His spirit of “I can do it-ism” (is that a word?) was running rampant.

So, Papa stood behind the young teeter-totter rider, holding the seat and guiding the ride so that the older sibling could go up and come back down without such a jolt that the little guy would be thrown into the air.  In other words, Papa helped even though the little one believed he was doing it all by himself.

There are times when we, as adults, find ourselves in situations which overwhelm us or which are so complex that we cannot unravel the situation.  It is at those times that we should say “A little help, please!”

When we come to the end of our rope, our Lord is standing there ready to catch us.  Whatever the need is, our Lord is more than able to handle it according to His will and for your benefit.

Our problem, however, is that we, often, are too prideful to ask for help.  We need it, we know we need it, but we cannot seem to say the words, even to those who love us and who are in our physical family as well as our church family of believers.

Scripture repeats over and over again the admonition that we are to help others.

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35 ESV.

Help the weak, both believers and non-believers. (For further reference, see 1 Thessalonians 5:14.)

“Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Philippians 4:3 ESV.

Helping here was to be extended to missionaries who labored with Paul, and may require giving funds or providing housing; providing clothes or preparing a meal.

“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV.

Helping includes more than merely giving money; it includes praying for the ministry of others.

When Jesus was healing and teaching, a Canaanite woman came to Him seeking healing for her daughter who was severely oppressed by a demon.  He did not respond immediately, and the disciples told Him to send her away.  He said that He was sent to the house of Israel, distinguishing her since she was a Canaanite.  She then persisted in seeking relief for her daughter as follows:

“But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.”

Matthew 15:25-28 ESV

I find it easy to ask the Lord to help me – but it is far more difficult to ask for help from others.  This should not be so.  By refusing to tell others of our need, we are denying them the blessing of obeying the Lord’s command to supply the needs of others.

Christian, if you have what others need, open your hands and give.  Christ gave His life for you; we surely can assist others in their time of need. Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading as you seek to help others.

If you have a need, swallow your pride and tell others of the problem.  Find a care group, an individual, an Elder, Deacon or the Pastor at your church, anyone who you feel comfortable speaking with and share the need or concern.  Pray with them and then let the Lord lead them in assisting you toward resolution of the problem.

christ-of-the-ozarks-missouri-1968-3
Christ of the Ozarks, Missouri, USA (circa 1965)

The Lord is still in our world helping others as He did with the Canaanite woman; now He uses our hands and feet to do His work.  Allow us to do so by seeking help.  It is available through those He leads by His Spirit to work in this world.

Father, may I be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and may I respond joyfully to the needs that present themselves to me.  And, may I give to others so that Your Name may be glorified.  

 

THE BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY

Helping others – giving each other an assisting hand in time of need or difficulty.

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Papa helping youth reach squirrel feeder.

We sometimes think of this concept as the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12: “”So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”).

Helping child to overcome fear of water
Father helping child overcome fear of the water.

In studying the Scriptural book of Ecclesiastes, you find a myriad of comments on the difficulty of life, the dreariness of toil, the futility of materialism, the fleeting nature of life.

Again, I saw vanity under the sun:  one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-8

The writer here describes the solitary person who was striving for goods and his toil was difficult.  The description of the futility of a man gaining much worldly possessions through hard work but not having any pleasure while not having anyone to leave those goods to after death is described as vanity (futility) and an “unhappy business”.

But the next series of verses extols the benefits of community.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two workers are better than one – they can help each other in difficult times.  Some think of this “falling” as not only physically falling but spiritually falling into sin.  Having a friend with you can help prevent physical as well as spiritual injury.

In his Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Poole has this to say about the proverb at the conclusion of Ecclesiastes 4:12:

A threefold cord is not quickly broken; if a man have not only one, but two or more friends, he is so much the safer and the happier.

The Church is an illustration of this proverb.  When one believer is alone, his witness is difficult, his spiritual life suffers by lack of attention, and he can neglect his study, prayer and devotion to the Lord.

church-with-steeple
Church on a hill with steeple.

In contrast, the one who is active in his church, who studies his Bible and prays by himself but also with others in a small group or Sunday School, who attends worship to lift his voice in song in praise to our Father and who hears a Bible-based sermon expounding on the truth of the gospel, that individual is strengthened in his Christian life and he will grow through the Holy Spirit into the likeness of the Lord.

In other words, a solitary believer is subject to the attack of Satan and to the lure of sin and will succumb to the attack much more readily than one who has the community of believers around him.  Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are those who will hold us to account and who will warn us if they see us swerving into sin’s path, and they will be there to pray for us if we need them to do so.

There is an old story about the man who stopped going to church after his wife died, he no longer desiring to worship with others and believing that he could connect with God on his own.

After a long absence, the pastor visited the church.  Upon entering the home, he saw it was heated by a blazing fire.  Neither of the men spoke a word.  They both sat in front of the fire and rocked a few minutes.

Then the pastor took the tongs and picked up a blazing coal from the fire, placing it on the hearth, away from the fire.  Both men silently looked at the coal and it began to stop burning, slowing losing its energy and growing cold.

When the transformation ended, the pastor took the tongs and placed the cold coal back into the warmth of the fire, and almost immediately the coal began to blaze on its own, as it was surrounded by other burning coals.

Still without speaking, the pastor stood up and turned toward the door, when he heard the man speak from behind him … “Pastor, I’ll be in the worship service on Sunday.”

Friends – two are better than one.  Three are better than two.  Many are better than three.  Brothers and sisters in our Lord are the best!

Father, thank You for providing us with your Son Who died for our sins and Who lives now as He intercedes on our behalf before your throne.  Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us your Church, the Body of Christ, and our Christian brothers and sisters who encourage, strengthen, hold accountable and bring joy to us as we walk along the way.