We have all needed help from others. For some of us it is easy to receive help, for others it is difficult to admit a need. Whether it be about “not bothering people”, or maybe we just have too much pride, asking for help can be hard. Conversely, we have all given help to others. For some of us it is easy to give help, for others it is difficult to meet a need. Sometimes the situation is delicate, we simply don’t see the need, or we may even feel someone is undeserving of help. We even have a saying “better to give, than receive.” But what if God has more? What if He has something deeper to strive for within our giving?
In the story of Jonah, as with us, the focus is on the past and present as it relates to help. What has gone on? What can I do now? Jonah just simply could not get past the past. Paul in His writings gives thanks because of what he has seen in the past and present of his flock. Even in Psalm 51 we see the first twelve verses dedicated to the past. In verse thirteen, however, we see a shift into what “could be” in the future. This is the big shift. When we seek help or give help, do we look to the future?
This future-focused helping changes everything, especially with things of an eternal nature. Are we grateful for help, not because it gets us out of something now, but because it brings hope for something better in the future? This can lead to us striving for the better future, which leads to avoiding the same pitfalls that have caused us to need help. When we give help, are we grateful for even the chance to help? Knowing that our act in the present, regardless of the past, can create a different future? We are grateful for the opportunity to help because it becomes bigger than the “now” moment, it echoes into eternity.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the story of the cross. Jesus looked not at our past and present circumstances with distain, but instead humbled Himself to death on the cross. This act was one focused on the future, on what could be!! His redemption allows us to have life abundant here on earth, and life everlasting in the world to come.
So the next time you need help and it is offered, how can you create and focus on a better future from that moment?
The next time you see a need, realize we are to be grateful for the chance to act. Because it is in our act the future is forever changed! Be grateful for help!
Rev. Jeremiah McClure – Trinity Church of the Nazarene – Rock Hill, SC