Have you ever had your motives questioned? Maybe you were trying to help a neighbor in need and someone else looked at what you were doing and thought you were taking advantage. Or maybe you were serving at church and somebody thought you were only worried about your “own” agenda and not what was best for the ministry. If it sounds like I’ve “been there, done that,” it’s true. Those are real life examples, and it hurts.
Paul seems to be having a little of the same “shame” going on. He shouldn’t. He is listening to the voice of God and is there to help. People will be people. Doubting. Judgmental. Perhaps even jealous. As leaders, we open ourselves up to criticism. We can’t please everyone and many times that’s enough to keep good people from taking leadership roles. Even in the church, especially in the church, you would think we’d be safe from this questioning behavior. Paul shows us it was happening even then.
Should we let that stop us from trying to help? Should we take the “safe” route and let others lead us instead? What does God say? Is God putting something on your heart, a way to help? When it’s a message from God, we should take it seriously knowing we will be equipped, even if we feel unworthy. When we welcome God’s assignment to help, to serve, there is freedom and joy, despite our fears of ridicule. I love what Paul said here, “I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.”
Right now, many of us feel helpless. Our loved ones are distant from us because of a global pandemic. As many fall sick from this virus, they are left alone and fearful. Our hands are tied. We have to let go and let God. He is in control. We may not be able to help, but God is more than able. There is something big at work here, and we have to trust even though we cannot see. What will the world look like on the other side of this chaos? Depending on when you are reading this, you may be praying for that day or living in the new reality God will help us navigate.
God is our helper. We can take refuge in that and also draw from his example. Jesus didn’t just sit around waiting for the world to end. Up until his final days he taught, he prayed, he spent time with his friends. He didn’t waste a moment. His journey to Jerusalem was filled with examples of helping and serving. He may have known what was coming, but he didn’t let that paralyze him from service. He may have endured ridicule and adversity, but he was faithful to the final moment.
How are you helping? Are you open to listening to God’s prompting on your heart to help?
Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me for my fear. I am feeling stifled and unsure of what steps I need to take to be of help to those around me. I don’t want to seem opportunistic in any way. I want to serve you and be your light in this darkness. Reveal to me my place in your plan to help others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.