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  • Writer's pictureLMSpang

Help, I just need to Help!

At our recent San Diego Baja growth conference my friend Andrea hosted a breakout session on Shabbat and Sabbath. I was so inspired by the way these practices have impacted her family that I immediately began implementing the practices into mine. We are two Shabbats in and already my kids are engaged and learning about Jesus in a very intentional way. We have broken out my grandma's china, set the table, and sat down intentionally together. We look forward to all of it. I will be sure to post an update on how this is going in a few months!

What is harder for us is Sabbath. Yes, I know this is a big deal. Like it is one of THE commandments. Yet our schedule makes it a little tricky to plan. Of course, we get days off but sometimes our days off are not on the same days, or perhaps one falls on a weekday when the kids are at school.

If I am completely honest with myself though, it is not our wild schedule that is the problem. It is our need to help. We live and work in an area where the cry for help never stops. From the people we serve locally and globally, to the small things that happen on our campus or with our friends, or in our home, there is always help to give.

Side note: On Saturday Kody was helping fix the outdoor grill on the campus and fixed it a little too suddenly, singeing the hair off his arms and shortening his beard quite a bit. I am very happy. His beard looks great.

Anyway, if you have ever met Kody, you know his life-calling statement is, “Uh, I just want to help people.” Obviously, he has a lot more strategy than that with the work that he does, but this deep desire to help people who can’t help themselves is like engrained into his core. It has infected our whole family in 98% a really good way.

That other two percent can cause problems. A few years ago we had an opportunity to meet with a financial advisor and he started looking at our giving habits. Now I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but we love to give. Our income is based on people’s generosity and in turn, we also love to be generous. God has used the call of generosity in our lives to grow our faith, combat idolatry, heal bitterness, meet others’ needs… the list goes on and on. It is a big deal to us. Yet sometimes we can give or help not out of obedience to the Lord but from another source. Call it guilt, call it a savior complex, either way, it is the same. It’s the inner voice that says, “If I don’t help then I am a bad person.” or, “I have to give because I have the resources to do it.” or, “If I don’t help, who will?”

This financial advisor shared with us a metaphor that stays with me today. It shocked me. He said, “If someone gave your child $500, how would you feel?” I expressed how that would be a horrible idea! Why would anyone want to give Brielle that kind of money when she would spend it on a tv in her room that she’s not even allowed to have? That is ridiculous!

He said that was exactly it. Our giving and helping without partnering with God, the father of all the people we interact with, is like giving a child a large sum of money without consulting their parents. Perhaps God does want us to help or give, or perhaps He is doing something else and we don’t need to be involved at all.

I have been reflecting on this idea of partnering with God in the way we help. God might ask us to do something crazy, but then He is in it. The opposite way is to do something with our own strength. The Bible is pretty clear about God’s way being the best way (see Isa. 55:8-9, Zech. 4:6, Phil. 2:12-13). Why? Because it is God’s job to save. Jesus is the savior! I am not the savior. We are not the savior. Jesus is. Oftentimes Jesus invites us into opportunities to help and give, but it is still in His plan, in His way.

When we surrender our will to God’s, helping and giving out of a partnership with Him rather than guilt or the inability to say no, then I believe we will see more fruit and more opportunities. It will combat bitterness and frustration and will help build healthy boundaries.

As I think about these things I have hope. I deeply want God’s will in my life. Of course, I need to grow. Finding a time for sabbath seems a little daunting at the moment, but I say yes to partnering with God’s plan and purposes and I look forward to the blessings that come with that impacting my life and my family!


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