Our last reading closed with a couple of those great transition verses. I like 5:25 in particular, “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” That leads beautifully into what Paul is saying in today’s reading. Right off the bat, Paul gives us an example we’re likely to encounter being in relationship with other believers.
We used this passage in our Celebrate Recovery ministry. It was one of our key verses. It is especially true when you help another with “their” issue, how likely it can be you’ll fall prey to that same issue. That doesn’t mean we don’t help each other. That means we help others equipped by knowing we need to stay strong ourselves. After all, we should all be looking for opportunities to “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
I’m not saying we should go out and actively troll for people who are hurting. We don’t have to “troll.” We just have to keep our eyes open. There is a lot of pain and struggle in our world. When we can offer a helping hand, we are showing up for them as Jesus would have done himself. I have often prayed, “Lord use me as your hands and feet.” This is exactly the passage that inspired this prayer.
What often happens is that life gets in the way. We get busy. We get distracted. We’re so caught up in our own stuff that we don’t have (or make) time for those who might need our help. Paul is good with his zingers. “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” In the scheme of things, that is true. Yet, to God, I am precious.
There is such a feeling of satisfaction that comes with helping others. At least for me. I love to watch the transformations begin. I know I’m not responsible for the transformation, that’s all God, but I am instrumental in doing my part, and I rejoice with them. We need to be careful not to take credit and stay humble. Remember, we reap what we sow. How are you sowing into the lives of others?
It does us good to remember that just because we sow some goodness in the world, it’s not up to us after that. We are only responsible for our own actions. As Paul says, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” We have the choice of how we want to show up each day. Are we going to embrace the day and be grateful for all that God has given us, or are we going to focus on something negative that is not serving us? Those decisions are up to us.
Paul gives us the example of comparing ourselves to others. Have you been guilty of this, too? We can take a huge hit in our own self esteem when we let ourselves go down that road. In business, we call that “comparison-itis.” It can suck the life right out of you if you’re not careful. The old saying, “the grass is always greener…” is another example of that. We do better to focus on our own gifts and abilities. When we do our best, we can feel good about the results. Others have their own gifts and abilities. That’s why we are better together in community. If we were all the same, how could we help each other?
Paul warns us to be careful to give in to our sinful nature. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. The evil one is crafty. When we let the Spirit guide us, we stand stronger against evil and our sinful nature. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
What is “just the right time?” That’s up to God. We know God is faithful and will provide for us what he deems best. Don’t give up before God gives you his best. Strive to be better each day.
Let’s pray … Lord, I trust you are leading me and that your plan for me is greater than I could possibly imagine. Help me to stay the course, to be your servant helping others in their time of need. Give me the words I need. Help me to see the needs. Let me be your hands and feet to serve those whom you love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.