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Marty's Muses- Lending a Hand

by Marty Rind

Some of you have met my dad. He came to visit a few years ago with my mom, not long after I moved here. Due to my mom’s ongoing health issues, they haven’t been able to come visit again. But for those of you who don’t know my dad, he is quite the character. I get a lot of my humor and personality from him. We both enjoy making others laugh and being goofy in the process at times. To give you an idea of his sense of humor, growing up, whenever me, my brother, my mom, or any unlucky individual would ask him for a hand, he would start clapping. He wouldn’t immediately help us, but would instead “give us a hand” by applauding. Isn’t that just wrong? Funny, yes. But not exactly what we were looking for. And of course, after getting his laugh, he would gladly help us with whatever we were needing help with. That’s my dad. He is funny, but is more than willing to help those that need it.

I remember one Christmas, and perhaps I’ve told this story before, where we got home from our church’s Christmas Eve Service, and there was a car stuck in our ditch. It was a father and his baby in the car. As soon as we pulled in and got parked, my dad immediately went inside, grabbed the cat litter and got my brother and I to go out and help get the man unstuck and on his way. By the way, in case you were wondering, cat litter does wonders for getting cars unstuck. It absorbs moisture from the snow to help with traction. When we were all done and had gone back inside, my dad told us helping is what the Christmas season is all about. It’s about helping those that need it and showing God’s love for them at a time when a lot of people are stressed out.

I have had the privilege of being surrounded by a lot of great people in my life, not the least those here at RCC. My life has not always been easy, and I’ve needed help more times than I care to admit it. After all, I am a guy, and aren’t guys supposed to be able to do everything on their own? I’m kidding of course. I’ve gotten lost my fair share of times trying to find somewhere because I didn’t ask for directions. But that’s a story for another time. My point here is that as smart or as strong or as able or as wealthy as you or I may be, we all need help sometimes.

Jesus says in Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV) On the last night of his life, Jesus chose to wash the disciples’ feet. It was the grossest, most vilest chore to do, and was reserved for the lowliest servant. Yet, Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself to do it for his disciples. Jesus lived a life of servanthood. Everything he did was for other people. He healed and fed and comforted so many people in just 3 years of ministry. 

For those who haven’t seen The Chosen, first of all, I highly recommend it. It is a series on Jesus’ life with his disciples. And secondly, there is one scene in one episode where the disciples are all gathered around a campfire arguing over something insignificant while Jesus is out healing people. As their argument comes to a climax, Jesus returns. Only, it isn’t the Jesus you see in pictures with his hair all perfectly done, a smile on his face, and looking good. Jesus is physically exhausted in this scene. His mother, Mary, tends to his sores and bruises from being in the crowds all day and using so much of his strength and power. Yes, Jesus was God, but he was also man, and had physical limitations as a result. But he helped people because it was the right thing to do and because he was the only one who could heal them.

We all have people in our lives that need our help. God has put each of us in a position to be a blessing to others, whether we realize it or not. It’s up to us to make that decision to help people. We have two options. We could be like Jonah or we could be like Jesus. Jonah famously ran from God’s will for his life. Jonah didn’t want to help the people of Nineveh by preaching to them of God’s goodness, so he hopped on a boat and headed for Spain. But it ended up coming back to bite him. After a few days in the belly of a fish, he realized he was wrong to turn from God’s desire, and went to Nineveh and they were blessed by his preaching. A citywide revival happened and so many people turned to God! But this was all in spite of Jonah’s reluctance to follow God.

Jesus, on the other hand, always welcomed those who needed help, even if it meant sacrificing his own time, strength, or personal needs at the time. When he fed the 5000 with the 2 fish and 5 loaves, he was trying to get away from the crowds to mourn the death of his cousin, John the Baptist. But seeing their need, the Bible says he had compassion on the crowd, and served them.

I know it’s easy to look out for yourself and let other people take care of themselves, but God calls us to a life of sacrificial love and service. I encourage you this month to look for ways you can serve those in your life, even if it means sacrificing something you want at the time.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. -1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)