Have you ever been asked a question that took two or more weeks to answer, and you’re just struggling with the right decision? I was asked to help in another ministry, which isn’t anything new, except this was in a different area. It intrigued and terrified me at the same time because now it’s face-to-face with others.
There were two problems, though, one being my schedule at work. For once, I wasn’t very fond of my new position. It was getting in the way, and I watched that door close to a crack. The second problem was me.
Should I Help?
Through the week, I fought over in my mind if I was even right person for it. I wanted to be sure it was God’s plan because I’d fallen on my face before, operating under my own strength. I had been convicted all week in one area, my heart. A sense that I had to ‘check my motives’.
If I did it for the curiosity rather than wanting to just help, then it was about me. My nemesis resurfacing as pride and ego returned. That was risking hurting people who were already in pain even more. I decided when it was no longer about me, then I could do it. I prayed for help in that area before drifting off to sleep.
The answer wasn’t long in coming. The next day, I heard about the session the night before from my friend. It had been the largest group ever, overwhelming her and forcing her to rely on God’s infinite strength. The message preached that day had really lifted her. That penetrated and hit me deep, my friend needed help. The motive had changed, and it would be on my mind all day it turned out.
A Lesson In Humility
Talking to my wife about it, she instantly keyed on my egocentric tendencies, helping me deal with them. We could watch for them. The next day was my Sabbath, because my weekends are busy, on Monday is when I turn off everything and just spend the morning with God. To check my motives, I looked at Philippians 2 and the mindset of Jesus:
‘Do nothing from factional motives…prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.’
‘[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.’
After that I resumed my quiet walks around the plant. During the walk, I prayed a verse that came to mind from Isaiah 42:3, “Lord, please don’t let me hurt them any more than they are, ‘a bruised reed’ I don’t want to break, just use me and work through me.”
What Could I Even Offer?
I went to pick up my wife and was simultaneously reading a book on Kindle and listening to Love Worth Finding with Adrian Rogers. In the same moment, I read 2 Corinthians 1:4 while Pastor Adrian quoted it in his sermon:
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
As the week progressed, I watched it play out through the rest of the week. At a get-together with classmates, I was approached by a guy I had only met once. The unusual thing was he was comfortable enough to tell me about his sister passing away almost right off the bat.
Immediately, I asked how he was holding up, listening as he let it out. Then a friend mentioned a recent loss in his family that really hit home with my wife and I. These people were awfully comfortable with me to be willing to share their pain. It doesn’t generally happen as I’m not that approachable.
It carried on, though. I was able to sit in on a session with the group I was asked to help with later that night. My friend wisely gave me tips on looking at how to help them and watch a group leader work during discussion. I saw so much pain, and heard so many stories.
In a previous post, Losing Someone, I wrote about the ten losses over the course of a three year period. Most were in the span of a year. As painful as that is, because of that I could identify in some part with most of them in the group.
As I wrote this, I reread that post and Ravi’s quote stuck out at me again: “In terms of service it’s the wounded soldier that serves best, someone who’s been in the darkness.” It kind of echoes the 2 Corinthians verse.
During the night, I was able to use my healing as an example, which I picked up while watching my friend work. I had thought she was like a counselor; now, I see it more as a mentor. She quoted the 23rd Psalm that night, and that’s why that team is so helpful to those in the group; they have ‘walked through the valley in the shadow of death’ and came out on the other side.
The next day, I was approached by a few in the group, just to say hi or connect. I made my mind up. I don’t know if it is a God thing, but it is a good thing. I was going to help any way I could. Just needed to get my schedule to cooperate.