The Psalmist states in today’s verse that trusting in a person is worthless or useless; the Psalmist declares a person cannot rescue another. This thinking is contrary to what the world exclaims. I remember growing up with the hope of being rescued. Remember the stories of a knight on a white horse? Today, our entertainment includes superheroes, and even underdog heroes. Lots of stories about people saving the day, rescuing people, getting the win—and these are the stories we cling to and celebrate. These stories do not simply entertain; the stories invade our thinking. We begin to think a person could help our situation and a person could even rescue us.
Yes, it is true. A person could help you. People help people daily. A person could rescue you. People rescue people every day. But the hope of man—the hope of man—it is in God alone. Here’s where we get caught up, where we all get caught up. When we are around a certain person, we feel happy and we begin to think that the person is the reason for our joy. When we are bailed out by someone from a financial hardship, we begin to think the person will help the next time. When our neighbor rescues us every time we have car trouble, we start to expect it. But people let people down. We are not strong enough to carry another. We can barely carry ourselves. Even though we have moments where we can be used to bless, to help, to rescue—we cannot carry another completely. Most importantly, we cannot offer a person hope. We cannot offer a person salvation.
We can point to hope. We can point to salvation. We can point to Jesus. We can lend a hand. We can speak life. We can be there to listen. We can be the hands and feet of Christ. Remember though, only God saves. Jesus is our only hope. Don’t put everything on another person’s shoulders. You have a Savior who already carried your burden and paid the price a million times over. An empty hope is no hope at all. Thank God for Christ Jesus!
“Give us a father’s help when we face our enemies. For to trust in any man is an empty hope.” – Psalm 60:11 [TPT]
When you have the power to do something for someone who deserves it, the Bible tells us to just do it. Help them. Do not withhold good. It sounds like a grand idea, but yet we often fall short. We will tell people maybe later or we will totally dismiss the thought of helping at all. At times, when we say, “Come back tomorrow,” we have no intentions of even seeing the person the next day, thanks to the practice of avoidance.
Note that this passage does not tell you to enable people. Remember that the Bible speaks against enablement. This passage is also not talking about helping people when you do not have the power to help. There are times when you cannot help someone—but thankfully you can always pray for them! It is made clear in this passage that for us to help, we must have the power to help them, and that they must deserve it. Don’t mistake this word “deserve” to mean they are owed something. None of us are deserving. We are all blessed by God.
Today, don’t procrastinate with your giving if you have the power to help others who are in need. Open your hands. If you spend your life clinging to that which was meant to be passed on, you will lose something bigger than what you are clenching.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’” – Proverbs 3:27-28 [NLT]
Many times we pick and choose who we want to show kindness. It is a lot easier that way. We don’t need to address any of our own personal issues when we desire to show love and kindness to a person. We can stay in our comfort zone. The problem is, we aren’t meant to stay in our comfort zone, and we are commanded to love everyone. This includes loving those who are not easy to love.
In Matthew 25, we read about the Sheep and the Goats, the final judgment. In Verse 35, Jesus begins to share that what we do for others we are doing for Him. When we feed someone who is hungry, we feed Him. When we give someone who is thirsty a drink, we are refreshing Him. When we clothe the naked, we are clothing Him. When we visit someone who is sick or in prison, we are visiting Him. This can be helpful to self-examination, to looking inward at our heart and checking our motives and our level of compassion.
It will always be easier to help someone who you know well, someone who is like you, someone you find comfortable. But we can never share the love of Christ with the world if we stay in our own little safety area. Don’t stay in the bubble this week. Say “hello” to someone new. Do something kind for a stranger. Share the love of Christ with those who come along your path.
“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”- Matthew 25:45 [NASB]
The other day I had a flat tire. I was so very blessed to have a handful of people come to my rescue. It is always a blessing when there are too many hands to do a job. As we pulled the spare tire out of the car to use for a temporary solution, it became clear right away that the spare tire was flat. Good grief?!? Here’s a tire that has one job—to be ready for when a flat tire occurs – and it was flat.
Thankfully one disciple stepped up to get the spare filled with air so I could be on my way. But in the time waiting, I considered the flat tire and its failure. It had one job. Only one job. Failure. It reminded me of something we need always remember – nothing is 100% reliable except for God and His Truth. He never fails. His love never fails (Psalm 136). His Word never fails (Isaiah 55:11, Matthew 24:35, Luke 1:37).
People will fail you again and again. They might not always be on time or they might not show up at all. People may break promises or break your heart. People will lie. People will fall short. Spare tires will be flat. Cars won’t start. The money might not get deposited. The promised raise may not come. But with God, all things are sure and true. Today remember that through all the twists and turns in life, one thing remains – God. He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He doesn’t leave (Deuteronomy 31:6). He keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9). How awesome is our God!
The fight was on with the Israelites facing the Amalekites. During the battle, Moses was standing up on a hill. The Bible says that if Moses held his arms up, the Israelites were winning the battle; if Moses put down his arms, the battle changed significantly. For Israel to win, Moses needed to keep up his arms.
It’s hard to keep your arms in the air. Before my aches and pains came along, I remember when holding up my arms wasn’t such a big deal. But I remember that if you keep them up, it starts to be too much. It doesn’t matter if you are holding a feather, as time continues that feather will feel like a large rock. Arms get tired.
When the arms of Moses could no longer be held up by Moses’ own strength, we see something very amazing happen. We see Aaron and Hur step up and help. They found a stone for Moses to sit upon and they both stood beside him and helped to hold up his hands. They understood he couldn’t do it alone—that he needed help—and they stepped in and did what they could to get things done. Today if you see someone who is struggling, perhaps you could step in with the stone. Maybe you can help them to complete the task at hand. Aaron, Hur and Moses had the same goal—to see the Israelites to victory. We as Christians have a shared goal—and we can achieve victory together if we each keep our eyes on Jesus and we each step beside one another to lend support and encouragement when arms feel to heavy to keep lifted.
“Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.” – Exodus 17:12 [NLT]
We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.
When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.
This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]
I love to take an early morning walk with Max; the earliest the better. When the sun is first coming up and there is still dew on the grass, there is a great peace that embraces you. The sweet melody of birds chirping is so beautiful. This morning I heard a chorus of different birds chirping together. I spotted cardinals, blue jays, hummingbirds, robins, black birds and others. They came together in one song, one voice that was pleasant to my ears.
As I finished walking home, Max and I continued to hear these birds. I thought of Romans 15 – I considered the harmony we are to live in, and the voice that we are to sing with together—with one voice. These birds were different types of birds, all different sizes, all different voices. They gather together in harmony this morning to have their morning meal and sing. It was so peaceful to my ears.
Paul spoke of us living as Christ desired, in complete harmony together. He wrote, “Then all of you can join together with ONE VOICE, giving PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD.” We each sound different. Some of us are altos, some sopranos. Some of us have raspy voices, others can reach high pitches. Some of us use our voice to express different opinions than others. Some of us speak loud; some of us are quiet spoken. But Paul says we can all unite together with one voice. How? Through Christ Jesus. God gives “patience and encouragement” to us. It’s possible. Too often we spend our time trying to argue our stance, trying to be heard, trying to be seen, trying to make a point. It should all be about Jesus. If we each make it all about Jesus, and we gather together with the same heart for Jesus, then it doesn’t matter if we are from different denominations, different backgrounds, different cultures—it doesn’t matter our opinions, how we dress or anything else. Only Jesus matters. And with one voice, may we sing. May we sing praises to our great Father.
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” – Romans 15:5-7 [NLT]