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Feb 18, 2020 08:00am
Here’s What Helping Others Really Means
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Over the course of a lifetime, there are a few phone calls that really stand out in your mind. One such call for me occurred almost sixty years ago and I still remember it like it just happened. 

I was a scared little boy lying in a hospital bed awaiting a serious surgery. My dad took the call and I didn’t pay much attention to the conversation, but it stands out to me because of what happened after he hung up. It was something I had only seen once before: 

The sight of my dad with tears in his eyes.

As a kid, I was only focused on me. Years later when I became a parent I understood the enormous burden that they must have faced as I lay there. As a kid, I had no comprehension of the implications of medical expenses. I just wanted to go home.

I clearly remember my dad describing the call to my mom. A person in our community had heard of our situation with my surgery and called my dad with an offer from his family to ours to be of help. Overwhelmed with emotion, my dad quoted the man as saying, “Our family is ready, willing, and able to help”. 

It is a phrase that has stuck with me all these years:

READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO HELP

Fortunately, my family did not have to rely on that help, but what a comfort and encouragement it must have been to know that the offer existed. What a blessing they must have felt at the compassion of that family. What a joy it must have given them to know that someone understood and cared enough to reach out with such an offer.

To my knowledge I never met that family. I cannot tell you their name. I do not know what their faith was, but I do know that they perfectly modeled the lesson of compassion and caring that Jesus taught. I never had a conversation with them, yet their words impact my life to this day:

READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO HELP

It seems to me that Jesus’ marching orders to us were to stand ready, willing, and able to help others. Jesus pretty much summed up his entire philosophy as loving God and loving others. I am not a preacher and I can’t explain the meaning of loving others in the Greek or whatever. But I do know that “loving” was intended as a word instructing us to do something. We are to actively love, and that love involves being ready and willing to help.

LOVE DEMANDS A READINESS AND WILLINGNESS TO HELP.

Helping comes in all shapes and sizes and every opportunity is unique. It may involve coaching or mentoring in areas where our life experiences could be of help. It may be an opportunity to physically help someone with a task or burden. It can be an act of listening or emotional support. Helping may come in the form of spiritual guidance or prayer. It may involve taking an extra step to show friendliness to a stranger. As in the phone call to my dad, it might even involve an offer to be of help financially. 

Jesus demands that we love. Love demands that we be ready and willing to help when given an opportunity.

WE ALWAYS HAVE THE ABILITY TO HELP

Sometimes we may feel the readiness and willingness to help but may not feel that we have the ability. Certainly there are areas where we may not have a specific ability to help a specific situation, but we always are able to help in some way – always.

Maybe we don’t have the ability necessary to be of help personally, but we may be able to refer them to someone that does have that ability. 

Maybe we don’t have the ability to actively mentor or coach, but we all can be an encouragement. 

Maybe we simply don’t see how we can help. In those cases, we can certainly pray for them, and that may be just the help they need. 

I think one of the great tragedies of life is that we often fail to recognize the abilities God has given us to be of help.

 We can always be of help in some way—always.

JESUS: THE ULTIMATE HELPER

Fortunately, Jesus served as the ultimate example of readiness, willingness and ability to help and he still serves that purpose today. 

He demonstrated his readiness by teaching and modeling for us examples for our own lives.

He demonstrated his willingness by providing us with the way to be reconciled with God through his death on the Cross. 

He proved his unmistakable ability through his resurrection.

Just as we always have an ability to be of help to others, each of us also has the ability of accessing the help of Jesus if we are ready and willing to acknowledge our need for it and accept his offer in our lives. It is up to us. He always stands . . . 

READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO HELP

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

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