April 4, 2000

Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (NIV)

I like to be asked. "Asked for what?" I hear you say. Well — anything, I suppose. When I am asked to do something, it makes me feel needed, empowered, eager to help. These are really good feelings, and should be a credit to me, but the other day I realized they had become an impediment, a crutch.

Some weeks ago my wife had the misfortune of injuring her foot, and was laid up on the couch. An old pair of wooden crutches was the only way she could move around, but the crutches were in poor shape. The padding was all split apart and the rubber feet were almost worn through. I had fetched the crutches up from the basement and saw their sorry state, but I did nothing. I was waiting to be asked. One week went by, then another, but my wife did not ask me to repair her crutches; she just made do. She figured that I had more than enough work, doing most of her chores as well as my own. Then the little rubber foot on one of the crutches wore through, and she almost fell as the crutch slid out from under her. The crutches had gone from being uncomfortable to unsafe. I was upset to see this happen, and realized I was about to blame her for allowing this to happen, for not asking me to help. What a ridiculous rationalization!

Romans 16:2 – I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. (NIV)

Sure, it is nice to be asked, but we must not allow that fact to stop us, or even slow us down. If we see a need, we should offer help. We ought to give everything we can, for love does not hold back. Our Lord certainly did not wait to be asked. And when I hear that quiet knocking on the door of my heart, I know it is Jesus who is ready and waiting to offer me help, before I even ask Him.

Psalm 28:7a – The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord God, guide us away from allowing our good works to become merely an exercise in boosting our self-esteem. Encourage us to grasp opportunities to help others in need and to go forward with eagerness, not waiting to be asked. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Michael Ames
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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