By Pastor Wes Poole
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – NRSV
Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. – NRSV
I get by with a little help from my friends. – Lennon/McCartney
Recently, I accepted an offer to sing the tenor solos in big choral work to be performed up at Marywood University. While in some ways it is difficult for me to admit this, it has been one of the hardest and most challenging pieces I have ever attempted. Usually, I take pride in being the guy who shows up, ready to go, makes it look easy, greets people afterwards, and goes home pleased to have brought some beauty into the world that others appreciate. This time around, it became evident early on that this particular enterprise was going to require a bit more work and commitment. That didn’t scare me, but when I started studying and practicing and was STILL having a hard time, I kind of started to panic. I can’t go out on a stage and just die in front of a hall full of people! 80 choir members, two conductors, and a whole orchestra were counting on me to have my stuff together! Failure was simply not an option.
What was the answer? Well, I did what I should have done way earlier and reached out to friends for help; two in particular. They took time out of their busy schedules to help me “woodshed” the material and get my brain and voice around it. Just today I finally feel like I can do this without bringing shame to my clan or my voice part! ☺ As I write this, I’m feeling a sense of lightness and thankfulness that I haven’t in awhile. How wonderful it is when we bear one another’s burdens! It is such a blessing to the one who receives the help, but asking for help is also a blessing to the one who is asked. As many of you know, I worked in the secular world right before coming to Good Shepherd. One of the most rewarding parts of the job was when someone would come to me for help, and I was able to do just that. It is such a blessing to the helper and the helped. It isn’t hard to see how this plays out in the life of the modern day disciple of Jesus. We are called to be the helpers, and to accept help graciously. This is central to faithful Christian living. Maybe it’s filling bags full of food for those in need…which the Good Shepherd Family does so well. Maybe it’s cutting an elderly neighbors grass, maybe it’s buying a meal for the homeless person who asks for your help, or receiving the gift of a meal during a time of grief. It is said that no act of kindness is wasted. No doubt the “Good Samaritan” in Jesus’ parable would have come away with a sense of blessing for rendering aid to the wounded man. The moral of the story is that we shouldn’t shy away from helping, asking, or receiving. Jesus said as much. This approaching holiday season is often referred to as the “season for giving”. As we walk our walks of faith in our daily lives, may we keep our hearts and minds open to the blessings of gracious giving AND receiving.
Let us pray…
Gracious and generous God, throughout history you have shown us that when we put our trust in you and ask boldly, you provide. Help us to reflect that same spirit of giving in our daily lives; offering help when needed and thankfully receiving it when it is given. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe!
Pastor Wes Poole †