|Posted on October 25, 2018 at 2:10 PM|
Image by skeez from Pixabay
When my first husband was in his last couple of weeks before passing on to eternity with God, we needed our sofa moved so he could finally have a hospital bed to sleep on. He had been sleeping on our sofa because he was unable to take the stairs. I asked around at the gym, where I worked as a personal trainer, for help to get the sofa moved to upstairs. Two co-workers, who were non-Christians felt compassion for my situation after several no’s from others;. Some who turned down my request were fellow Christians who had other things to do.
These two strong guys came to our townhouse apartment to help. When they walked in our doorway, they could see how seriously ill he was and knew I certainly couldn’t do the job myself. They hoisted the sofa together and carried it up the steps to a spare room for me. My husband, grateful for their help, expressed gratitude in his raspy voice, “Thank you so much! We really appreciate what you did for us today.” He blessed them as I thanked them.
After he passed away, I needed help packing to move back to Ohio near my adult children. First, I needed help getting the remnants of medical supplies out of the apartment. These items were painful reminders of my husband’simmense suffering. A Christian friend willingly packed them up to take them to the hospice center where he died. They accepted donations of bandages, wound ointment, and more as long as it was still packaged.
I was also part of a great church family who exemplified what it means to belong to Jesus. They helped me pack my belongings up to move them to five hours away. Believe me, going through someone else’s stuff is a daunting task sometimes. I was grateful for such loving brothers and sisters in Christ.
What’s the Deal?
While one situation was taken care of by non-Christians and the other was taken care of by Christians, it makes one wonder about our responsibility to help other believers. What should we do when a brother or sister in Christ needs help? How about when non-Christians step up to the task when believers don’t? Who is blessed as a result? The best place to find our answers is in God’s Word.
Read: Galatians 6:1-10
Focus Verse: John 13:34-35 NIV “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If you look at Galatians 6:1-10, there are three things we are told to do: 1) carefully help restore a brother in Christ caught in sin, 2) help people in genuine need, especially other Christians, and 3) give generously to those who instruct us in God’s Word. All of these are bound with the love of Christ.
This passage begins with gently restoring an erring brother in Christ, but with a warning: don’t get pulled into it with them. What a way to start this section! In many ways, it is helping a fellow Christian with a burden, the burden of sin that has him in its snares. This part reminds me of an inner-city pastor my family knew who went to the crack houses in his neighborhood to drag his church members out. The church had a rehab ministry, but it took a while for these addicts to clean up due to the environment in which they lived. He went in after them time and time again. Many of them were saved and delivered of their addictions because of this pastor’s courageous dedication. Restoring a fellow believer can be very messy and inconvenient. Yet we are called to lovingly help other Christians out of slavery to sin, rather than ignore it.
Verse 2 links with verse 9 by telling us that we are to help others with genuine needs. We should do this because we care about people enough to help, not to look good or holier than everyone else We are to not give up doing good things for each other. Otherwise we get what we deserve. We must examine our own motives for doing these deeds. For those who do it out of love, we are blessed. For those who do it to look “holy”, it will be to the end of destruction. We are to be especially helpful to other believers.
Verse 6 simply says to give all good things to those who instruct us in God’s Word. Who are those who instruct in God’s Word? Pastors, elders, Bible study leaders and Sunday School teachers. We are called to be generous in sharing all good things with them. I think it goes hand in hand with “do not muzzle the oxen while he treads the grain” (1 Corinthians 9:8-10). Don’t starve your pastor, but help support him so he can teach the Word unhindered by worries over finances.
Our focus verse John 13:34-35, Jesus calls us to love each other in the Lord. Loving each other can be in a variety of ways, but it dovetails beautifully with the Galatians 6:1-10 passage. When we lovingly help each other, draw each other out of sin, and take care of our pastors, everyone who sees us will know we belong to Jesus.
In the first two instances I gave, it was non-Christians who were generous with their time and muscle power, not Christians. God will use it to reach out to those men. But the Christians, who said no when they could have re-arranged their priorities, would not receive blessings. I’m not saying we can or should drop everything when it isn’t wise to do so. Instead, there were likely Christians who were being prompted by the Holy Spirit to help, but ignored those promptings. We are called to help each other and God sets aside people to help. He doesn’t arm-twist any one of us to do what He wants, but in His sovereignty has a permissive will that gives us the option to respond or not respond. If we can possibly stop to help, then we should. It pleases our Heavenly Father when we are obedient to His promptings.
In the story about the pastor pulling his congregation out of crack houses, we are called to help brothers and sisters who continue to sin, but we need to be careful that we don’t get caught up in those sins as well. One caution I would give is if you were once involved in the same sin someone else is currently in, you may not be the one to help. Instead, you may be the one to advise someone else how to help this person. Addictions are easy to get sucked back into their vacuum. Yet you may be the very one who should help cautiously. Listen to the Holy Spirit so that you are able to do what you are called to do in that situation.
So, are there people in need around you? Yes. There always are. The question is who should you help? Prayerfully look around you. Ask the Lord to point out the person or people He wants you to help. When you know the answer then cautiously help. Be aware of any dangers or hazards involved so you can plan ahead. Don’t enable an addiction, rather ask God how to best help. You can also ask for wise counsel from your pastor and elders in the church (Proverbs 15:22). Take someone with you for help, prayer, and accountability. God will bless the loving kindness you show to others when you help them with the burdens they carry. You never know if you are the one God sends as an answer to someone's prayer.
Keep blessing your pastor so he can faithfully serve your church and community without worrying about whether or not he can pay his bills. Fastors ought not have those concerns.
This is why we take care of our bodies; to serve God and others more effectively (Ephesians 2:10). May God bless you!