Whatever. I can’t do anything about that. That’s not my problem. That’s not my job. That doesn’t affect me. I can’t take responsibility for that. Some people just need to help themselves. I can’t do anything about that.
In our ever-isolated society, I hear these words all the time.
I think I’ve written about this before. I am not a great helper. I am not the first in line to offer help when it is needed. I don’t see needs right away, tend to stand back and watch others do a job because I think they’ve got things under control, that I’d just be in the way, that I’d take more time away from their productivity than my help is worth. I’ll help when asked, but man, will they be sorry when I accept.
I guess you could say that I sometimes feel as if I suffer from passivity. Or non-helperitis.
I was raised to help. My parents were good examples and continue to be; they helped out where they could when we were growing up, and still do. I helped them do chores, helped them help others. Throughout my life I helped out in Sunday School and the church nursery, helped at a women’s shelter, helped friends move, watched other people’s kids, helped at schools in various roles, and continue to help my family by taking care of the house and their needs, even though I have deliberately pulled back recently because these kids need to learn how to make their own lunches and clean their own rooms, for goodness’ sakes.
So what am I whining about? I help.
There is always the pull that I’m not doing enough. I’m not effective enough. Look! Those people are working hard; why aren’t you jumping in as well? Your friend could use some help. Why aren’t you calling her to see what you can do? I see other people who care for others and I wonder if I could do that, too. Jesus called us to sacrifice. I hate that when there is a need I sometimes shrink down in my chair and hope that no one calls on me. I hate the resulting guilt that tells me I am not sacrificing enough, that I am not doing enough.
Is this God telling me to help more? Is this the famous ‘tug’ or ‘prick’ of the heart that the Holy Spirit employs that all good Christians in every small Bible study group talk about?
I don’t know.
I do know that I have helped in the past, and I continue to help now, and that I should probably be less hard on myself about it. That my help might not look the same as my neighbor or friend, but I am doing what I can, in my own way. On the other hand, I probably could do more, or differently, and be more effective than I am right at this very moment.
I do know that Jesus is a wonderful example and inspiration of helping others. After all, he taught us what it means to love. The ultimate sacrifice may not be needed in my case, but I am called to be like Jesus in helping others, and a little sacrifice goes a long way if done in his name and in his image.
And I do know that I need to be mindful of helping, and pray about where God wants me to be, and what he wants me to do. I think that sometimes we struggle with ourselves, even in the good things, because we haven’t gone to God for guidance. Only God knows where we can be most effective, where best we can shine. Because he is the one who equips us to do the jobs we are intended to do.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 16-18 (NIV)