If you are near my age, you will remember this commercial. “It’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped.” All of us want to help. I’ve not met many people that don’t have a desire to make the world a better place. As I awoke with a sore shoulder this morning, I remembered back to a time when help was all I could do.
I was 14 and was helping our Little League coaches give pitchers advice on throwing the ball accurately. I went over where to release the ball and placement of the fingers to throw a fastball. Most 10-12 year-olds aren’t ready for curves and sliders. You just want them to put it over the plate and make people swing. I had helped out a couple times and we split the team and had an exhibition. The two coaches took half the team each and both let me play first base coach.
There was nothing to do as a first base coach for a practice. I knew the signal for telling the kids to steal a base, so I tried to help by telling a runner to steal a base. To my unfortunate luck, the catcher was the slowest guy on either team. He was thrown out by half the base.
The coach begins yelling at the kid. “Who told you to go anywhere?” He answered that I did. The coach runs up to me and starts yelling. “Who do you think you are telling him to run?” I stammered that I thought it would help. He goes on. “Help? You think you’re Mr. Super Help. Why don’t you get the H*** out of here and never come back!” So I did. I never went back. It actually took me another nine years to get back on a baseball field as a coach. In another town.
It often happens like that in the church today. We get saved. We learn the basics. Then most churches start screaming from the pulpit that they need help. They really do. In most churches, it’s the same handful of people doing everything. The program, the singing, the kids’ ministry, the van or bus driving, the list goes on. The only problem is that many don’t teach you how to help. They go under the assumption that you already know how. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:2, “For I know your eagerness to help.”
So you begin doing some of this, some of that, stretching yourself here, throwing a pinch of yourself there and before you know it, you are as busy as that handful of folks and you either are drowning in a to-do list or you have no idea what you’re doing, but you’re doing it.
In the book of Leviticus, God gives the Levites to Aaron the head priest to help him get the religious sacrament type things done. Keep in mind, this was the beginning of the priesthood for the Israelites in the desert. No one really knew what they were doing other than the instructions given by God to Moses. To work with these elements, often required a preciseness. God even tells Moses that if a person between the ages of 25 and 50 wasn’t healthy and without disease that they probably shouldn’t be doing this.
In Chapter 10, two of Aaron’s sons were making the fire for some incense when they got a little overzealous and made too much fire. The NIV calls this an unauthorized fire. The fire of the presence of the Lord came out and consumed them both. It was a costly mistake for his sons, ending their lives.
Unfortunately, this happens in the church as well. People get rolling along, helping out immensely and they make a mistake. They aren’t killed, but they aren’t taught with reinforcement either. Their passion to help gets snuffed out. Not only do they stop helping. They often leave the church, period. This is when you hear phrases like, “Well, if God’s people are like that, I don’t want anything to do with them.” And that is often how they stay. No church, no God.
Proverbs tells parents to “Train a child in the way they should go and they won’t depart from it.” Sometimes, this is how we have to work with people who are helping us. We have to remember that not every Christian is on the same page with God or their walk.
Are you one of those people that want to help, but don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions for you. First, ask people who are significant in your walk with God where they think you may be able to help best. If you aren’t seeing any results with that, try asking someone who you see helping already. Believe me, especially if they have a tired look, they will be more than happy to give you advice on who to see to ask that question if they don’t have an answer for you. Lastly, ask people working at the Welcome Center of your church. They’ll direct you to the right person to talk to.
One of the true hopes of this ministry is to see you find your place in the church that you are going to and be a blessing to others. It won’t just make you feel good. It may change a life.
I love you guys!