|Volume 21 Number 2 February 2019||
The expression, “He will have to stand on his own two feet” is one that has been around for a long time. While the exact words are not found in the Bible, the thought can be found in the words of Paul in Galatians 6:5. “For each man shall bear his own burden.” In short, there are some things that others cannot do for us. We have often watched a small child making every effort to take the first few steps in the process of learning how to walk. Then, there is the young man who has taken to himself a new bride with all the responsibilities. Also, an inexperienced person is placed in a position for the first time that demands making decisions constantly. We can help the child keep his balance, give advice to the newlywed and render assistance to the person having to make so many important decisions. However, there comes a time when each person will have to stand on his own two feet.
In Christianity, the principle is certainly true as Paul stated in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When a brother’s load becomes too heavy for him to carry, we are to lend a helping hand. Young Christians need special attention as they “grow in the grace and knowledge” of Christ (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). Also, “we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak…” (Romans 15:1). However, there comes a time when each Christian will have to stand on his own two feet. Faith in God and Christ must become strong enough in one’s heart that he will be able to do this very thing. If a person does not grow spiritually, he will never be of worth to the cause of the Lord. There is a time to assist a brother, and there is a time for one to learn to stand without the assistance from others.
I remember an elder of a congregation where I labored several years ago suggesting to me that certain weak members should be visited each Saturday in order to encourage them to be present for worship on the following Sunday. It is right and scriptural “to provoke unto love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24), but to stunt another’s spiritual growth by preventing him to act on his own faith is not what the Bible teaches in this matter. Another case in point relates to a brother with whom I had visited and encouraged so diligently for some five years. Yet, this brother was no stronger after that period of time than he was at the beginning. Finally, I mentioned to him that I was not coming around anymore, not because I loved him less, but that my visits were not doing any good. The brother remains unfaithful to the Lord to this day.
Brethren, we are only fooling ourselves when we feel that we must pet and pamper members in order to get them to attend periods of Bible study and worship. If a weak brother’s presence for these assemblies is decided by the preacher’s visits, there is not a true foundation of faith existing in his heart. Such a brother will remain as an infant, unable to walk and develop his strength. He will never be able to stand on his own two feet.
[Editor’s Note: It is a difficult and sometimes impossible challenge to know when, and whom and for how long to help. While we want to be Christians who arise to needful occasions, some people cannot be genuinely helped until they are willing to help themselves. Unless the beneficiaries of our kindness are willing to try to help themselves, we become enablers. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
On the Side of the Road
In Luke 10:30, we begin reading the account of a man who unfortunately was robbed and left on the side of road. He had been beaten, stripped of his clothes and left for dead. As time went on, a priest passed by, but he would not stop to help. A Levite also passed by, but he too would not stop and help. Thankfully, there was one more traveler who passed by this poor, beaten man. A Samaritan stopped by the side of the road and had compassion for this man. He bandaged his wounds and took him to an inn. The Samaritan not only cared for this man, but upon his departure the next day, he made sure the man would be taken care of and that all his expenses were paid.
In some sense, we have all been the man on the side of the road. We have all been overtaken by sin in our lives. We were lost, alone and in desperate need of help. Jesus Christ came and helped us in our most desperate time of need. He paid the price for all of our sins and provided the way for our eternal healing. As Christians, we have all seen the need to submit to God and obey His will. We recognize that through faith and obedience we can come in contact with the healing Jesus Christ offers to all those who are lost and on the side of the road.
As we Christians continue down that road of life and continue towards our heavenly home, we need to be aware that there are many who need the spiritual healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ. There are many in need of love and compassion. Unfortunately, there are also even many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have fallen by the wayside. Just like Jesus and the Good Samaritan, we need to be there for those in need. We need to be willing to stop and help even when others are unwilling. A kind word, an act of compassion and true concern for the souls of the world can help lead those around us toward Christ. Let us all strive to truly be the Good Samaritan of our day. Souls depend on it.