I like helping people. It’s a weird thing to say (or to write), I know, but it’s true. I get more joy out of helping someone else accomplish their goals then reaching some milestone on my own. It’s probably one of the reasons I entered the teaching profession. And why I was never that good at competitive sports.
The thing with being a helper is that its sometimes hard to know when you are helping too much. I face this with my students all the time. It’s easy to tell them the answer when they ask a question, but much more beneficial to them if I make them think it through and come up with a response. Sometimes helping someone well means helping them figure it out on their own.
However, despite the fact that I like helping, I find that sometimes my desire to help is overwhelmed by my desire not to. There is a great tendency to make excuses for not wanting to help. It’s easy to justify our non-involvement in other’s lives in a variety of ways; we don’t have the time, resources, or ability. We aren’t sure how to best provide help. We don’t know how beneficial our help will really be. Or a thousand other excuses that enable our inaction.
The truth, however, is far from any of these seemingly justified responses. The truth, I’m afraid, is that often we don’t get involved simply because we don’t want to. In our pride, we want to to make others do things on their own – just like we fancy we did. In our arrogance, we think we know better, and so should everyone else. The reason we don’t help isn’t we can’t. We don’t help because in truth, we don’t care.
However, one of the great things about God is that He has already considered these lame justifications and countered them. Feel like you don’t know how to help, then great, because God already given you the first (and the only step) – to love as He did (John 15:12) Feel like you are too good to help, even better, because God says he will exalt that which is humble, and humble that which exalted, which sound like the perfect predicate to helping someone you view as “less” than you (Matthew 23:12). Feel like you don’t have enough strength to help, wonderful, because God says His strength is made perfect in your weakness (I Corinthians 12:9), and it’s hard to imagine anything being more helpful than God’s perfect strength.
Which brings me to the point of this discourse. When we think about helping and then decide not to its often because our helping exposes our soft spots, our vulnerabilities. Helping requires that we take a risk and we are sure that we are courageous to do that for another. And yet, we know that being humble is the mark of true strength. For when we are humble enough to serve, we demonstrate that we are strong enough to trust in God’s ways. When we are humble enough to serve, we remind ourselves, and those we help, that He is strong enough to save.