Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being Helped

Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being Helped

You’re pregnant with older children to care for, and you’re facing immobilizing back pain. Do you deal with dirty bathrooms and fast food and let your husband pick up as much of the slack as possible?

You want to meet friends for a girls’ night out, but you don’t feel comfortable driving at night. Do you stay home, not wanting to inconvenience anyone by asking for a ride?

In recent weeks, as friends of mine have faced decisions like these, I’ve had occasion to marvel at the beauty of women asking for, giving, and receiving help.

It’s not an easy thing to do. We hate to feel needy; we don’t want to burden others. But when we are ashamed of our weakness, or too proud to admit our need, we commit robbery — denying ourselves the blessings of being served and depriving others of the blessings in serving.

For others to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves is inconvenient to them. To take a meal to a friend, to vacuum her floors or give her a ride, costs something. The task may simply take extra time, it may carry a financial price tag, it may be unappealing in itself. But since when are disciples of Jesus called to lives of convenience, only choosing what is easy and pleasant and free?

What’s incredible is the significance Jesus bestowed on these tasks. When you feed the least of these My brothers and sisters, He said in Matthew 25 — when you offer His people a home-cooked meal or a few hours of babysitting — you are doing it for Me.

Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being HelpedHow is it that we can serve our Savior so simply and tangibly? How can it be that we could accrue eternal rewards for ourselves in such mundane acts of kindness? If John the Baptist proclaimed himself unworthy to tie Jesus’ sandals, would we not find ourselves honored beyond measure to clean Jesus’ toilet, to do His laundry or give Him a ride?

Yet when we refuse to reach out to our friends or our church body in our time of need, we deny them such opportunities. Dare we rob others in this way?

It takes courage and humility to admit that you’re needy. If I’m honest, I’d much rather be the one doing the serving than the one receiving it. When my husband comes home from a long day at work and immediately jumps in to help with cooking dinner or household chores, my default reaction is often guilt (“I should have gotten that done myself”) rather than gratitude. But he’s not serving me in order to shame me. He’s doing it because he loves me, because he wants to bless me. In doing so, he gives me a clearer picture of the Savior who came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45) — and he inspires me to imitate our great Servant as he is doing.

The blessings don’t only come in the serving. It may be “more blessed to give than to receive” — but it is a blessing to receive. If you can humble yourself enough to set aside feeling like a burden and simply give thanks for the blessing, you’ll likely find that not only are your practical needs met, but you’re also deeply moved by new experiences of God’s love for you.

One of my friends has been blown away by how generously our church has rallied around her in her need, filling volunteer slots almost as quickly as she could make them available. The service and love of humans has been a clear and powerful means for her to experience the Lord’s provision for her needs, His tender care for her. Human hands and feet have expressed the love of God to her. And those of us who have seen or participated in that provision have gotten to marvel right alongside her at how sweet Jesus’ love is, how graciously He meets His people’s needs, and how amazing He is to allow lowly humans to partner with Him in that work, making us vessels of His love and grace.

With these kinds of benefits from helping and being helped, why would we ever try to go it alone?

If you find yourself in a needy place today, I hope you’ll cast off your pride and find the courage to ask for help. If you’re in a position of being able to give, I hope you’ll actively hunt for opportunities to meet needs, perhaps even before others ask. And in the asking, the giving, and the receiving, I trust you’ll get new glimpses of the glory of Jesus’ generosity and grace.

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Amy Kannel often suffers from spiritual amnesia, easily forgetting who Jesus is and what He has done for her—so she writes to remember His faithfulness and help others see Him as the Main Thing. She makes her home in the Nashville area and will be forever grateful to the South for introducing her to tomato pie. When she’s not writing, you might find Amy making said pie and other kitchen messes, singing to her four-year-old son, reading with her seven-year-old son, or ballroom dancing in the living room with Mr. Wonderful. And if you'd told her ten years ago that she would even think of mentioning cooking in a bio, she would have declared you certifiably insane…which just goes to show that she serves a God who’s in the business of changing people. You can find more of Amy’s writing at Choosing Hallelujah.

  • Briana

    This is just so good, Amy, and such a needed message to be embraced by God’s people. I really believe this is one manifestation in how we are to be set apart from the culture. As believers, I see us so often acting and thinking no differently than the culture around us in that we provide services to one another with an expecation of either receiving like services or some form of pay back or even that the person would “pay it forward.” Often this will happen regardless but I truly believe we need to shed that heart motive. We are to give freely and freely receive. It is work; it does not come naturally. I personally have to fight my flesh all the time when it comes to receiving without feeling the compulsion to reimburse that person in some measure. The thing is that I often will reciprocate in some way, but I want it to increasingly be from a heart that is freely giving not giving out of obligation.
    Same behavior, different heart motive.
    It makes all the difference to God and whether our good works will end up being fodder for fire that will burn or a crown that we’ll cast at Jesus’ feet.
    I’m fighting for those crowns.

    • Amy Kannel

      It’s so hard to freely give and receive, isn’t it, without those social constructs of obligation and taking turns?! Love your phrase “fighting for those crowns.” Yes.

  • “Human hands and feet have expressed the love of God…”

    So beautiful and so true! Having babies has been a major way to allow people to help me out. People bringing meals, helping with laundry, watching the kids for appointments, have all been small ways to allow people to serve us. We were blown away by all the meals this past time of Ava’s birth–16 homemade meals–if I counted right! Even that small thing is such a blessing.

    A co-worker of Josh’s couldn’t believe all the people who helped us move. He said if he moved, he’d have no one to call. Another co-worker was going through a divorce and got sick and the only people who helped him out (get to the hospital, stayed with him) were other co-workers. Many non-Christians live isolated lives with NO one to call. Not all, of course, but many. I’m increasingly looking for ways to help practically those in my life who don’t know Christ. Small kindnesses make a big impact for God’s glory!

    • Amy Kannel

      Beautiful, Danielle. Love the challenge to look for ways to take this kind of practical help and servant-hearted kindness to those outside the church. By this they will know we are His disciples, if we love one another–as they watch us serve each other–but certainly it will speak volumes beyond our words when we love and serve non-Christians like this, too!

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Glimpses of Glory in Helping and Being Helped

by Amy Kannel time to read: 3 min