There are many definitions for the verb help, but the words of Jesus in Acts 20:34-36 offer a beautiful explanation.
“You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.” NASB
Webster defines help as: “to give assistance or support to, to make more pleasant or bearable, to be of use to, to further the advancement of, to change for the better, to refrain from, to keep from occurring, to restrain (oneself) from doing something, to serve with food or drink, to appropriate something for oneself, give assistance or support, to be of use or benefit.” God placed the word in my path today and reminded that there are many ways to help as I walk in His kingdom.
Help can mean refraining from or restraining myself from doing something that will hurt me or others. It’s easier to jump in and save someone than to restrain myself when frustrated. It’s easier to give advice than refrain from talking and simply listen. It’s easier to appropriate something for myself rather than give it to others. I blame Satan when I just can’t help myself. The devil made me do it covers a multitude of sins:)
Mama used to say, “Lord! Help my time!!” when she was frustrated. She knew she needed help in restraining and refraining, so she said that instead of the more colorful expressions daddy used. I only heard mama curse once, and we all burst out laughing as she told a rude lady what she thought of the way she was behaving. It was a beautiful example of alliterating the letter b:)
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” NASBPsalm 46:1 is a favorite verse, so I had pens made for my middle school classroom with the verse inscribed on them. I figured if the students were going to steal my pens, I’d put a helpful verse on them. The students didn’t steal a single one, but I did give them all away:) I learned a great lesson in helping from those pens. God’s ways are much higher than mine.
Sometimes, helping is cleaning up messes I don’t want to clean up, and I thought of mama today when the girls and I went upstairs for lunch. Cookie had gotten into the garbage and spread it around the living room. If the girls hadn’t been with me, I would have used some of daddy’s expressions when I saw the chewed up dirty diaper. I went with, “Lord!! Help my time!!” instead. The lesson today was that others are watching when I help, so I need to make sure I help with a loving attitude. Living with dogs in the house is a challenge, but I know God will use them to teach me. I’m not sure at this point what those lessons might be. I did learn that loving, giving, and helping sometimes involve doing things that are not pleasant or comfortable, and it’s never fun to clean up messes, especially when I didn’t make them in the first place:)
Whether it’s restraining, refraining, not helping myself to what isn’t mine, or loving and giving to others as He desires, God is faithful to teach me how to help as He desires. I’m learning to listen and not question; but when Cookie started barking and woke Lillyann from her nap, I’m afraid I did whisper one of daddy’s words when I went up to tell him to be quiet. I never said I was a saint:)
All I can say is that Cookie better be glad he’s adorable:)