Skip to main content

How can I help?

We often have a desire to help another, but just don't know what to do in order to reduce the burden they are under.  We are being touched in our spirit to the point of action on behalf of another.  We are "identifying" with the other person - somehow we feel like we might just be connecting to their feelings, emotional struggles, and the challenge they are enduring.  Rarely, do we REALLY connect in quite the same manner as the one under the burden.  In fact, unless we have walked the same path in THEIR shoes, we really don't know what it is they are enduring.


1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?"  (Romans 15:1-2 The Message)


The real purpose of what some may call "empathy" is the ability to step in with the intention of lending a hand to one who is faltering under a burden.  We cannot deliver from the burden, but we can lighten the load a little!


Learning how to be truly sensitive to the needs of another is something which does not come naturally.  It is a God-given thing.  Paul tells the Roman church strength is for service.  When we are standing strong, someone else may not be.  Our calling is to serve - giving of our strength into their time of weakness in order to lift them when they have no capacity of lifting themselves.  The process of "lifting" may be taking on a task which only adds to their burden, listening to them quietly so they can sort through their thoughts and prioritize their actions, or just being there when no one else is.


I don't want us to miss what comes next in our passage:  Each on of us NEEDS to look after the good of the people around us.  The responsibility we take toward those God places in our path is what Paul has in mind here.  We need to live intentionally - taking action where action is needed, remaining still when stillness is the best option.  We are called to look out for the other guy - not ourselves!  When we are doing this - God takes care of us!


The rest of this chapter in Romans goes on to tell us Christ did not "make it easy on himself" by avoiding the troubles of others.  I have to ask - how many times do we simply look the other way just because we are wanting to make it easy on ourselves?  If we were to be honest, I suspect we could all recount a time or two just in the past month!  


The "investment" in serving another is sometimes more costly than we are willing to engage in at a particular moment.  I think Jesus had to rearrange his priorities a good many times in order to be available to the needs of others.  If we take to heart his example, then we will begin to ask, "How may I help?"  It may not be "convenient", or "publicly rewarding", but if we are willing to share from our "strength" in the times of another's weakness, we are learning to serve as God intends!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…