Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Our lives are a combination of our own efforts and the efforts of others. When we were small children, we did very little for ourselves. As infants, we couldn't even feed or dress ourselves. Other people (mostly our parents) had to do everything for us because we could do nothing for ourselves. Later, we became more independent. Many of us relished the feeling of being able to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we might have even scorned the idea of taking help because as adults we didn't think we needed it anymore. The truth is that while we are expected to progress past a stage where we need help with everything, we're never going to mature to the point that we don't need help ever again.

Even those people who vehemently attest that they would never accept help can't escape all the benefits of cooperation. Anyone who has a job that necessitates them to work with other people gets help sometimes. Anyone who drives on the Interstate is aided by the drivers who adjust their speed or change lanes to allow him/her to feed in. All of us get help from unseen Providence, whether we're willing to admit it or not. The truth is that there's no shame in getting help. We can do many things on our own, but we all have weaknesses. It's OK to accept help to compensate for our weaknesses. Even when we're at our best, we still might want help—with a little help we can sometimes transform adequate efforts into extraordinary results.

Accepting help doesn't mean that our own actions and efforts don't matter. Consider Moses for a moment. He confronted Pharaoh, led the Israelites out of Egypt, and parted the Red Sea. He didn't do any of this on his own. God told Moses what to say to Pharaoh, empowered him to be a leader, and lent divine power to the miracle at the Red Sea. Although these things were done by the power of God, Moses and his actions were integral to all of them. Moses himself did not unleash the power that parted the Red Sea, but God still need him to stretch his hand out over the sea. How else could the people have been sure that the miracle was from God and was connected to the message that Moses had delivered? God used Moses to reach his people, and Moses' own choices and actions had everything to do with that.

It's the same with  you and me. Sometimes we need help from God or from other people to do the work we've been given to do. Accepting help in those situations is a credit to us—it's the path to victory, not an admission of defeat. Still, it's also important for us to work hard to reach our goals, and we are no longer children who can rely on others for everything. Accepting help doesn't mean giving up on our own efforts. Instead, when we combine our own work with the help of others, we can often get a magnificent result. Because I know that, I ask God to help me feel more comfortable asking for and accepting help. Likewise, I want to become more willing to offer my help to others in any way I can. Together we can all make a big difference in the world. 

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