We all like to be givers, especially in the church. We like to think of our neighbors, to pray for them, to help out in times of need, and to deliver a freshly baked casserole at the first sign of trouble. It is what we do.
But what we don’t do, so much, is to accept the generous gifts from our neighbors in return. Why is that? I will provide a home-cooked meal in a heartbeat to a friend going through a hard time, but rarely will I accept the offer when someone calls me wanting to know “what time should I bring it over?” My response is always the same, “Oh you are so kind, but we are fine. Really, no need for you to go to all that trouble.”
I think it is a pride thing. I certainly don’t want to admit that I need help. I don’t want to admit that I can’t quite get around to feeding my family today. And I certainly would never ask anyone to pray for me. My problems are nowhere as big as some people. You should save up your prayers for the folks that really need them. Right??
But I ask all you well-meaning church folks out there to consider something a wise mentor shared with me once. She said, “When you don’t allow a fellow believer to help you, the you deny them a blessing.”
Think about it. Especially here in the south, when we show up at a friend’s house during a time of need (with a great meal in tow,) we do feel blessed don’t we? We feel as if we have helped in some way, and more importantly, that we have communicated our care for them. It makes us feel good, doesn’t it?
So why would we rob a friend of the same experience? Are we so self-centered that we are more concerned with our image of being self-sufficient than the feelings of the people who care about us?
And as an addition, consider this. Most of the time when someone is moved to help us, something is going on with us. We are probably experiencing some sort of stress that would lead them to take time out of their own busy schedule to offer us a helping hand. I truly believe that God sends people to help us in our times of need. We may be praying to Him over our circumstances, asking for help, but then too proud to accept it when it comes. Never underestimate our God when it comes to answering our needs. He just sometimes uses the people in our midst instead of divine measures.
So the next time someone offers you a hand, be gracious. Be filled with gratitude. Be accepting and be blessed. It will bring you so much closer to God when you do.
Good and Perfect Lord,
You know all my needs. Forgive me when my pride keeps me from expressing them. Forgive me when I turn away Your divine help in order to protect my self-image. Create in me a gracious heart. Create in me a spirit of community and kinship – that I may freely receive as I give. Help to tear down the walls I have built around myself, so that I might more freely experience all that You have to give me. And Lord, teach me what it truly means to be a part of Your loving kingdom.
In the name of Christ I pray,