Not convenient, but oh so necessary

Strength if for service, not status....

We can have a desire to help another person, but then we realize we just don't know what to do in order to reduce the burden they are under - the specific need escapes us, we just know they have a need of some form. We are being touched in our spirit to the point of action on behalf of another and that is good. We are "identifying" with the other person in some fashion - somehow we feel like we are connected to their feelings, emotional struggles, and the challenge they are enduring - but are we really? Rarely, do we REALLY connect in quite the same manner as the one under the burden. In fact, unless we have walked the exact same path in THEIR shoes, not our own, we really don't know what it is they are enduring.

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 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. Before long, it becomes pretty doggone apparent that we cannot deliver from the burden, but we might just be able to lighten the load a little! Learning how to be truly sensitive to the needs of another is something which does not come naturally to us - it is a God-cultivated thing within us. God reminds us that strength is for service. When we are standing strong, someone else may not be standing as strong, and it perhaps just barely holding on. 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 for them that would only adds to their burden, us listening to them quietly so they can sort through their thoughts and prioritize their actions, or you and I just being there when no one else is.

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 we sometimes forget when we get too caught up in our own little world. 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 looking out for the other guy - God takes care of us! Christ did not "make it easy on himself" by avoiding the troubles of others. Time after time, we observe him walking smack-dab into the middle of their 'troubles' and then helping them out of those very troubles. Some were troubles others created in their lives, others were those they had created themselves, while still others were those they had absolutely no part in creating. I have to ask - how many times do we simply look the other way when we see another's troubles 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 this particular moment - it won't be convenient and it often won't be easy. 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! Just sayin!


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