Sunday, February 12, 2017

Can I Help You?

We’ve all asked this question of others, but how do we respond to that question when the tables are turned? I have to admit that most days I’m pretty quick to say “No, thank you.” My response quickly changes, however, the moment I feel a precarious grocery bag preparing to send my produce plummeting to the ground. The simple offer of an extra hand brings a sigh of relief, and I quickly accept the offered help.

How about you?  Do you send a message of “I’ve got this” to others? What impression does that response make on those who offer their caring assistance? Does this reaction mean that we’re too independent or prideful? Or, do we simply not want to bother others with our not-so-well-thought-out challenges in life? Is showing kindness to others easier than receiving those same blessings in return?

Helping others. It seems a pretty basic topic, but when digging deeper into the how’s and why’s that we help others it can get complicated pretty quickly. It began way back in time. As in, back in the beginning. When God created Eve, he created an amazing creature. One who was actually created to help the man. Here’s a peek at several translations of Genesis 2:18.

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” NIV

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” ESV

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” ASV

“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” NKJV

In a world full of people trying desperately to figure out their value and purpose in life, I find the concept that we, as women, were created to be helpers amazing! Yes, Adam needed Eve to be able to ‘multiply,’ but I think it goes way beyond that. Plus, the Bible teaches clearly in Galatians 3:28 that we are all equal in God’s sight, so my thoughts don’t even go down that side trail. Instead, I soak in the reality that I was created to help my husband, and it is okay to find satisfaction in partnering with him in life.

To the world, that concept is strange and reeks of subservience. Even in the Christian community there is a hush that comes into a conversation if the subject of being a 'helper' is spoken out loud. Often the response is charged with an attitude or harsh laughter as the woman retorts with “He can get his own food, why do I have to do that for him? After all, I work all day too.” Or, “He’s got two feet. He can get his own (fill in the blank).” My internal response to these outbursts is this – “Why does the idea of helping our husbands quickly deteriorate into the idea that we then become a household servant?” Is that what God intended when he made a ‘helper’ for man? I think not.

There are so many ways that we can help our husbands in and through life. Each couple has different personalities and preferences as well as daily demands that drain their time and energy. I would guess that there are no two marriage partnerships that operate exactly the same. The variables between individuals are just too great. The things I do to help my husband may look nothing like the things that you do to bless your husband. And that is ok. It's actually exciting to think about!

For one, helping may mean taking time out to pray for, or with, your husband. It might mean that you prepare the communion elements. It could be to simply care for your kids and create a non-stressful home environment (possibly the biggest self-sacrifice of them all!). For another, helping may mean a homemade meal or to take out the garbage. In another marriage, helping may mean driving your husband home from work or co-leading and teaching a classs or seminar. The options and opportunities to help our husbands (and others) are endless. We must continually steer clear of comparisons. We must put a halt on getting stuck in the quagmire of preconceived notions that dictate what is the right way to do things. We must instead seek the best way that we can work together to build each other up and to be a witness of God’s love to our children, our families and our churches.

Once we know where we are headed as a couple and what works in our particular marriage, there is another question to ponder. Are we the kind of companion, friend, lover and partner that is spoken about in Proverbs 31:11? “Her husband has full confidence in her.” Does your husband have confidence in you? Are you faithful? Are you self-sacrificial? Are you loving? Are you honest? Are you gentle? Are you dependable? 

Bottom line: Are you helping or hindering your husband in life and in ministry? It’s a valid, and tough, question to honestly ask ourselves, our spouse and our God.

The answer - it will be ‘helpful’ to you both!


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