How can I be a help?
Paul opens Romans 15 basically talking about how we should be intentional in being a help to other people no matter our own circumstances.
If you know me, people say that I am basically the female version of my father, that we look exactly alike. And I do admit that we have a lot of the same facial features and facial structure. However, where my dad and I definitely differ, is in personality.
My dad is not only loud but he is a huge people person. He talks to strangers in grocery stores as if he has known them for years. A momentary connection between him and another shopper, whether it’s liking the Redskins or being from up North and now living in the South, could turn into a full-blown conversation. Heaven forbid he actually gets to talking with people he knows. If you know me, I am a little different. I’m definitely not loud and I may ask another shopper if they recommend another brand or say that I like their glasses or shirt or something in passing, but I’m not stopping to have a long conversation.
In thinking about the differences between my dad and I, he also always has a story/testimony about praying for coworkers or other people. And as I read this chapter I had to stop and question the last time I ever intentionally asked anyone at work or at school or anywhere how I could be a help to them (in a personal way, not a do you need help with that project). When was the last time that I stepped outside of my comfort zone to be a help?
Do you or I know if Becky in the cubical across from us is having health issues? Do you or I know if Suzie Ann across the hall is struggling with grief? Do you or I know if the person we sit one seat away from every week in church is doing okay? How many opportunities have I missed to pray for or with others and to be a help in some way (by just talking to them or even taking action after we talked)?
No Picking & Choosing
Teamwork— there’s no escaping it. Not at internships. Not even at my job. In those times where teamwork isn’t at its best, there is always that one person, that individual who doesn’t do any work; they don’t come to meetings and they show up presentation day; or they come to meetings, agree to take on part of the workload, and do nothing yet share in the grade/credit with you. You know who I’m talking about. Guess what? We have to help them too. In the Message translation of Romans 15:1-2, Paul says that we can’t “just do what is most convenient for us”. So we have to do the hard thing and help that person we may be frustrated with.
And I bet you’re wondering how you help this person who upset with love and patience. Well, Paul has a response/answer for that too.
I will never forget being in church school one day when Deairra analyzed this scripture. She said, “Christ is in you.” Let that sink in. You have the Holy Spirit in you; where you may fall short or not know how to act, you have Christ literally in. So, with the Holy Spirit in us, with God living on the inside of us, we have no real excuse not to live peaceably with other people. We also don’t have a choice but to still be a help to those people who may have upset us or hurt us. If we operate in the fact that Christ is in us, we automatically have the strength and patience to still be a help to the ghost in our group project; to the girl that spread a rumor about you; to that classmate who gave you destructive criticism; to the family member who never believed in you; to whoever hurt or upset you.
Paul ended chapter 15 with prayer (see verses 30-33) and since I focused on this chapter, I am going to take a page from his book and do the same. Before I get to that, I would like to ask you to not only join me in giving God praise and in praying for His guidance with being a help but also to read Romans for yourself. The entire book is such a blessing, and if you read the Message translation, it sounds like someone contemporary is just having a conversation with you. But, getting back to the topic at hand, thank you for reading!
Prayer: Lord, where I am weak, You are strong. So I ask for Your patience, Your love, and Your kindness to shine through me as I help others. I may feel uncomfortable or may not even feel up to helping but Lord, You asked and I intend to answer the call to be a help and to not do what is convenient. I pray that I hear clearly how You want me to help Your people. Please use me. In Jesus’ name, amen.