Helping and Being Helped in the Body of Christ
Often times, we are more willing to help than to ask for help. Pastor Eugene explains why acknowledging our need for help to one another is one way of putting the truths of the gospel into practice.
We gather on the last Friday of every month for our prayer meeting. It is a good opportunity for us to show our dependence on God by asking of Him, as well as to hear about what He is doing among us. At our time of prayer last week, I was encouraged by Pat Chan’s testimony of how God had strengthened her during a recent illness. What struck me was not only what she said about God’s faithfulness, but also her thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God’s people. Many reached out to Pat, encouraging her with their presence, words and prayers. This meant a lot to Pat, who was unable to gather on Sundays with the rest of the church.
This is the body of Christ in action. It is a real-life expression of what Paul says in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Scripture calls the church to do life together. This is how we put the truths of the gospel into practice corporately.
For this to happen, we need to love one another. Many of us understand the importance of this. So we are often keen to offer help to others. But bearing one another’s burdens takes more than a willingness to serve; it also requires a willingness to ask for help.
This, however, may actually be harder to do. Helping others makes us feel useful and needed. Receiving help, on the other hand, makes us feel dependent on others. It takes humility to love and serve others; but it also takes humility to say we need help. This is a reason why we find it difficult to be vulnerable and transparent. We chafe against appearing weak, especially when the culture encourages us to take pride in being self-reliant and self-sufficient. It can be easier being the benefactor than the beneficiary.
But if there is to be genuine Christian community, the members of the body of Christ must be willing to give as well as to receive help from one another. No one is self-sufficient. Rather, we are meant to be inter-dependent parts of the same body. As Scripture says: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’… If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Cor 12:21, 26)
Sometimes, in our time of need, we are tempted to pull away from community in order to “sort ourselves out first”. We ought to resist the urge to distance ourselves from our brothers- and sisters-in-Christ. After all, God has intentionally put us in one another’s lives for our mutual upbuilding and encouragement. “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” (1 Cor 12:18)
Remember then that we, the church, are a gathered community of redeemed sinners. Christ died for us “while we were still weak” (Rom 5:6). The assurance of the gospel enables us to be honest with our weaknesses and needs, because Jesus did not come to save the strong. Indeed, God’s all-sufficient grace and strength are most clearly displayed in our weakness. Therefore when we humbly acknowledge our need for help to one another, we show that the church is a people on whom the power of Christ rests.
To help us bear one another’s burdens, next Saturday’s Equip class will focus on the topic of suffering and how God uses trials to grow us in Christ. Scripture calls us to prepare for tough times by fortifying ourselves with God’s truth, so that our faith is not unduly shaken when trouble comes. So do join in the class, which will take place on Saturday, Oct 12, 930-1130am.
This Sunday, we will hear from Romans 12:3-8 on how we are to exercise the spiritual gifts God has given to us for His glory. Let’s come with hearts and hands ready to receive and obey God’s Word. We will also be celebrating the Lord’s Supper to remember the death of Christ for our salvation. Do examine the health of our relationships with others in the body of Christ, so that we come to the Lord’s Table in a spirit of joyful unity.
After the service, GBC members will gather at 11am for our quarterly congregational meeting. We will welcome a number of new members, as well as announce the theme and sermon series for 2020. We will also touch on several key initiatives in ministries such as member care, care groups and outreach. Do attend the QCM to hear more about how God is working in and through us!