Helping Your Fellow Saints
By Dr. Bruce C. Swaffield
My five-year-old granddaughter uttered a profound statement recently. "When you need help, you need help," she said to her mother who was having difficulty playing an online video game. We may smile or chuckle at what little Lexi said, but there is a great deal of truth in her words.
Think about the last time you really needed help. You probably did not put out your "Help Wanted" sign or tell anyone about your plight. Maybe the matter involved a trip to the grocery store, a ride to pick up your car at the shop or the need to borrow a neighbor's lawn mower. I confess I am guilty on all three counts.
People, especially our sisters and brothers in the faith, are more than happy to help us. All we have to do is ask. The problem is that we have too much pride and vanity to admit we need help. We want others to think well of us so we hide our need and disguise it as a strength.
I recall an occasion when a member of our church needed help. This woman had been sick for many days. Eventually, she had to be hospitalized and her recovery took another week or so. About a month later, I heard that she and her family were leaving our congregation. Why? The reason was that no one, not even the pastor, had bothered to call or come by in all the time she was sick. The main problem was that no member of her family had taken the time to notify the church office of the illness. For whatever reason, we always expect people to know what we are going through in life. I wonder how many people have left churches because of similar circumstances.
Another time when someone needed help was when a dean at my former college had cancer. She never said anything to anyone. After a few years, the doctors had to amputate her leg. Many months later she died because the cancer had spread throughout her body. I often wonder if she would be alive today if we had known about her disease and prayed for her healing.
My granddaughter is right. "When you need help, you need help." May you seek the courage today to do two things. First, ask God and those around you for help. Second, look for ways to assist people you know. As the apostle Paul once wrote, "Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality" (Romans 12:13). Let's help our fellow saints by taking care of their needs as they take care of ours. We need to help each other when we need help, not after the need has passed.
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Bruce Swaffield is a professor in the Regent University School of Journalism
in the the College of Communication. He
welcomes your e-mail comments.
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