Some people are helpers by nature. It is part of their personality to be caring, helpful, and insightful regarding the needs of other people. Being a helper is an important aspect of God’s nature, and one to which we should all aspire. How can we help, and why is it important?
Of course, God is the greatest helper of all. Many scriptures mention how God is our help in time of need: “…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5–6).
Jesus promised the “Helper”—the Holy Spirit—to those who had repented and been baptized (John 14–16). He sent the Holy Spirit after He ascended to heaven on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The Spirit “...helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
Most of us can think of one or more individuals who really helped us at some time in our life. We welcomed their help and have never forgotten it. Hopefully, we thanked them for their time, energy, and expertise to help us solve our problem and fill our need.
We do not all have the same gifts to give. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:4–6).
We all have gifts and opportunities to help those in need. Romans 12 goes on to give some examples of different gifts and how those gifts can be used to help others. For instance, “…he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness… distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality… Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:7–15).
Some of these may seem very low and simple. But these simple things can have a tremendous impact on the recipient, filling the greatest need at that time in their life. It is hard to put a value on such things as showing empathy and simply listening to someone who needs to express their grief and concerns. Giving someone some direction, respectfully showing them steps to take, the right way to go, and “opening doors” through your contacts to assist someone may be of tremendous help. What is the value of time spent with another human being who just needs someone to be there with them, or of encouraging someone who is discouraged?
Some who have been helpers are mentioned in Romans 16. Phoebe was commended by Paul in verse 1–2: “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.” In verses 3–4, Paul mentions “Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” In verse 6 he mentions Mary, “who labored much for us.” These followers of Christ used their gifts in service to God and the Work He was doing through the Apostle Paul.
Using our gifts to help others is the task of every true Christian. If you would like to learn how to be a better helper to those in need, write or call for the free booklet What is a True Christian? And, if you need a little help, read the informative Tomorrow’s World magazine article “Bounce Back!” and get the encouragement you need.