Bread – Help

May 5, 2014


Readings for Monday, May 5, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 18:13-27; 1 Pet. 5:1-14; Matt. 1:1-17, 3:1-6; Psalms 9,15,25

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We all need help, but how often are we willing to ask for it or, even if we have asked for it, take it? Somehow there is an element among us which whispers in our ear, “If you ask for help or take it, you are not a man…you are not competent…you are not strong enough…you are not a leader…you don’t know what you are doing.” You get the drift.

Not wanting to appear less a man, not wanting to appear incompetent, not wanting to appear weak, not wanting to show that we are not a leader, not wanting to show failure, we therefore not only reject the help which is offered, we never look for help or cultivate it in the first place. There is a name for this condition – pride. And there is a saying about how pride relates to success – “Pride goeth before a fall.”

In our reading from Exodus today, Moses has been made the chief go-to guy by God and so, as a result, he is sitting listening to all the people’s problems and disputes, judging between them. He is, to himself, merely doing what he has been told to do – answer inquiries about God, judge disputes (bring peace), and make known the statutes and commands of God. Moses’ father-in-law, however, tells him “What you are doing is not good” because he and the people will get worn out, and then Moses will be worthless. Moses is told the truth – he needs help. But not just any kind of help; he needs help from “able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe…” Exod. 18:21.

Moses needed help, but he needed it from the right kind of people. However, they all had common traits. They were people from all walks of life and representing “all” the people, and not just some particular tribe. In other words, they were people of diversity, from different backgrounds, training, education, and skills. They understood that there was a God and that they were not that God; in other words, they had a correct connection to the universe. They were all competent; what they did they did well, as an excellent offering unto the Lord. They were people who could be trusted – they could be expected to maintain confidences, not gossip; they could be expected to do what they said they would do. Finally, they were people of integrity – they could not be bought with money or with promises of special relationships or treatment.

We all need help. Our question for Monday is not whether you have surrounded yourself with help, because if you haven’t then you know you are getting worn out. The question is what kind of help have you surrounded yourself with? Have you surrounded yourself with people who fear God, or people who fear you? Have you surrounded yourself with people of integrity, who will say “no” to bribes of all kinds, including those from you, or have you surrounded yourselves with “yes,” people, who are guaranteed to reinforce your idyllic and idolic picture of yourself? Have you surrounded yourself with “able” people from diverse backgrounds, or does everyone look like you or have less skill than you?

What kind of help have you surrounded yourself with?

We have focused today on the advice which the father-in-law gave Moses, but not on the source of that advice. Did the advice really come from the father-in-law from nothing, or did it come through the father-in-law from God?

The truth is that our real helper in all times – need, plenty, failure, success – is God Himself, the Holy Spirit.

And the neat thing is that Holy Spirit-provided wisdom is but an “ask” away!

So ask for help, first from the One who provides all and second from those who the One points out to us to ask.

And the week will go a lot, lot, lot better.

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© 2014 GBF

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