Acts 16.9 during the night, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
On my kitchen table I have a very bright red leaflet that was posted through the letter box a few days ago. It has a picture of a man in uniform, packing food bank parcels. The words on the top read. “For the love of God, keep us where we need to be …..at the heart of the crisis.” You may have guessed; this was from the Salvation Army. Inside it shows how a gift of £15, £27, £50 can help. They are asking for financial help to keep their very wonderful services to the community going. It can often be difficult knowing how we should respond when there are so many different appeals for help. We have a food bank here in Henley as part of our church so that’s where my food bank giving usually goes.
In the verse above Paul sees a whole nation that need his help. The following verses show how he immediately responded and was soon on the journey to Macedonia. His contribution was to preach the gospel and then help them build strong, thriving churches. He was the man to do it and God had chosen him to do it. There are other times in Paul’s life when he was in need and asking for help himself. When he was under house arrest he asked for his books, parchments, and a winter coat to be sent to him.
It is the same for us. Each of us has a special gift from God to help others, particularly when it comes to building the church. He wants us to help others as an expression of his love. I think it was one of the statements in the cub scout law, that has always stayed with me – “to do a good turn to someone each day”. Seeking to be helpful, especially where people are less fortunate than ourselves, was, and still is, a strong and God given motivation, especially for Christians.
The second part, that is possibly not so easy, is to acknowledge where we need help and then ask for it. Before I sat down to write this thought for the day, I texted someone who I trained to do bike repairs years ago, asking for a few days help at a very low rate of pay. I had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not keeping up with the number of repairs and bikes I need to recondition ready for sale. I need some help to get through the backlog. I think we all like to be self-sufficient, and to admit our needs at times, takes a bit of humility.
How are you doing when it comes to giving help where and when it’s needed and are you open to your need for help in your life so you will be equipped to do all that God wants to do through you? It often takes a step of humility to say to someone; “I need your help”. God is always there to help us, and he often chooses a particular person to be His helping arm.