Finish the statement: God helps those who …
Aesop once told a fable of a wagoner from long ago. He was driving his wagon down a muddy lane when the wheels sank so deep in the mire that the horse could no longer pull the load. In that moment, the wagoner called out to the heavens for help.
Hercules himself appeared, as the fable goes. He said, "Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and goad on your horse, and then you may call on the gods to assist you. The gods help those who help themselves."
Years later the one true God, Jesus Christ, walked beside those who were themselves stuck in the mire. At every turn, He helped those who were unable to help themselves.
Yet, even today the echo of Hercules resounds with the implied authority of Jesus Christ: "God helps those who help themselves."
Stuck in the mire with a load, the weight of which is beyond measure, we are encouraged to put our shoulder to the wheel and goad the horse on. We refuse be to vulnerable to even our closest friends. We hide our weaknesses. We wallow in loneliness thinking we must fake it till we make it and then God will assist our efforts.
Like Milkolka in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, in a stupor, we goad our horse on to accomplish the impossible. "God helps those who help themselves!" we declare and push forward with all our might. We yell, shout, whip and beat in an effort to gallop when we can't even move an inch. And in the end, like Milkolka, we beat our horse to death trying to move the unmovable.
"God helps those who help themselves," people say. "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear," Jesus explains, "and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Matthew 23:4)
God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those who cannot help themselves. God helps those who have no hope. God helps those who are stuck in the mire unable to move. God helps those who cannot carry their burden. He exchanges burden for burden – His burden for theirs.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
God came to the valley, because we were unable to climb the mountain. God loved us, because there was no love within us. God brought salvation to us, because we were incapable of saving ourselves. God helps us, because we are unable to help ourselves.
God does not expect perfection in leadership, but integrity. That requires that we acknowledge what we can do and what we can't do. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength and wisdom. It allows for collaboration in our areas of weakness so that we can be stronger as a whole. It begins with how we view God and his involvement in our life, and is extended to how we lead our teams.
God helps, even now. God does not wait for us to get bogged down in the mire. Coasting along on a good road with no obstacles in our path, Jesus sits beside us and says, "Can I help you? Will you let me drive? The road ahead is smooth at times, but it also has mires, potholes, and deep ruts. We've got to go through some of that to get were we're going. I'm going to be here no matter what, but if you will let Me, I'd like to take this burden. I would like to take over the reigns and insure the safe delivery of My precious cargo. That precious cargo is you, My child. Can I help you?"
God helps those who cannot help themselves. Will you let Him? And will you model that spirit on your team?
About Warren Martin
WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...
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