How often does a friend or family member of yours get into a bind, get sick, run into a life altering issue and you say “Let me know if I can help you with anything!” Then if they take you up on it, it’s almost like “Say what? You want me to do what?!?!? Oh no, I didn’t sign up for THAT!”
I ask you today – do you mean that when you say that? This was a reality check for me this week when this little voice in my head said “Paula, you don’t really mean that unless it’s easy for you! You don’t mean that unless it comes at a convenience to you. It would be better to not offer your assistance at all.”
I think that I have good intentions to help my family and friends, but I don’t think through what “offering assistance” to a person in need might really mean or how much time and effort it will take me to really get the job done. Or what if the job never gets done? Take my parents and my husband’s parents…both are raising their grandkids. When my sister-in-law passed away in 2007 I said over and over again “Let me know if I can do anything to help.” When my parents were granted custody of my 4 year old nephew in 2009 again the words freely flowing from my mouth were “Let me know if I can help.” Can I really be there in the middle of the night when he is screaming bloody murder because of a night terror? Can I really do anything when she is throwing things at people because she is suffering from bi-polar disorder? What can I really do when the work isn’t coming in for their family, but the needs and bills are still the same? Am I available to listen the next day when they call, crying out for help or just wanting some kind of relief because of the night they just had? Or do I have my own agenda?
This all kinda “hit the fan” for me the other day when I had offered to help someone here at work. We have all of these systems and all of these passwords and all of these entries that have to be made for everything under the sun. Everything has a process in a different system with a different password. Some people just don’t understand computers. I understand this, so I offer help. I started inputting the data into a system (that I know pretty well) and started running into problem after problem – all for a $64.00 reimbursement. I found myself grumbling over HAVING to help someone. Did I tell you that I am the one who offered to help? Um ,yea! That’s when I asked myself “Are you only willing to help others when it is easy for you and glorifying to you?” I am going to eat humble pie here and say my answer was yes. That is unfortunate! That is unbiblical! God doesn’t call us to be there for others just when it is easy. And He defiantly doesn’t want ME to be glorified through it all. I would imagine if that was my only purpose to help someone else He might tell me “Don’t bother.” Have you ever been helped by someone begrudgingly? While helping you, they are distant and bothered by the fact that you need their assistance? It’s happened to me before. It’s so annoying that I sometimes might even say something like DON’T EVEN BOTHER!
What does the Word say about this subject? Here are some scriptures that jumped out to me.
First – each of us has a part:
1 Corinthians 12:27-29 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
We, as the body of Christ, have a purpose and a gift. Am I using the gift of service that God blessed me with?
Then came this scripture (ouch):
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Did you see that “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” That’s pretty clear – no gray area there!
This is the one that I really like:
Matthew 6: 1-4 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I mostly write this post because I am struggling with this. I don’t write this for self glorification, but I want the Holy Spirit to point out my sin. I don’t want to get pulled into the sin, like a quick sand, and get stuck there. Teach me so that I can learn and grow from it.
I pray that God will remind me (and you, if this is a struggle for you, too) not to worry about the toll that I think helping someone else out might take on me, but rather what He has called me to do. I feel most loved when my family and friends help me through difficult time. I also realized that is how I show others my love for them – through service to others. I LOVE helping others!
Am I willing to help others when it comes at a cost to me?
Am I willing to help other when I don’t get noticed – or maybe not even thanked?
What are my motives to help others?
Do I help others only because I want to be helped?
Do I have an alternative motive?
The NASB reads Matthew 7:12 this way “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law of the Prophets.”
I love the Lord and want Him to receive the glory. I desire to help others through their trials. Lord, teach me Your ways that I might do unto others as You have done for me. May I treat each person as a loved child of You. May I see others in a different LIGHT…Yours. Amen