Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
I love buying in bulk. It saves money, you know. So when I found a coupon for 25% off a forty pound bag of organic potting soil at Costco, I was tickled pink. But all that ebullience about saving $17.42 dwindled quickly. It didn’t dawn on me how I was going to load that beast into my car, or unload it into my garden shed at home. But don’t you know, God sent me an angel in the garb of a nice young man named Preston. (I think his mom maybe brought my need to his attention.) While we were standing in that line where they check your receipt, making sure their paying members haven’t stolen something, young Preston says to me, “Ma’am, may I help you load that bag into your car?” Oh lawdy, you’da thought I’d won the lottery, I made such a fuss. I just knew Preston was God’s provision.
Unfortunately, he didn’t follow me home, so I found myself in a pickle. How was I going to get that big bag out of my trunk? I hate asking for help, don’t you? And you know what, when I dig down deep inside, I think that’s nothing but pride. “Oh, don’t mind me. I can take care of myself, all by myself. I’m very capable and self-sufficient, you know.” I can feel God’s head shakin’ like one of those judges on The Voice after a decidedly pathetic performance. “Gracie,” I can hear Him say, “haven’t we been discussing how my Church is one Body with many parts, and how I want you to engage with the other members? You do well at assisting others; why are you too prideful to let someone help you?” Ouch! That hurt, because I knew it was true. Since my sweet husband died so young, I had to learn how to manage on my own. But that surely keeps me isolated in my own independence, which we know is a sin. It hurts me to confess it. So I said, “OK Lord, You’re right. I’m gonna call my friend Max. He’d be delighted to help me.” And I did, and he was. And after my garden loam was safely tucked away, we sat under the apple tree and had ourselves a nice cupa tea, catching up on life’s news. Now if I hadn’t had the nerve to admit I needed a helping hand, I would have missed a splendid afternoon with a good friend. And honestly, if Max knew I’d been reluctant to ask him for help, he’d be hurt. “That’s what friends are for, Gracie.” I can hear him, because I’ve heard him say it before. Admittedly, this isn’t my first round of willfulness.
None of us want to admit we’re weak. But let’s be honest – we all are. We need each other, folks, like geese in a gaggle. When those beautiful birds are flying to and fro in their impressive V-formation, they constantly share the lead. The first foul who is breaking the wind has the toughest position. Meanwhile, the others are resting up for their next rotation. I’m certain I’ll have my turn to repay Max a kindness. Next time he gets a runny nose, lickety-split he’ll have a pot of homemade chicken rice soup from his friend Gracie.
Let’s talk about your ever-teetering weight loss program, shall we? Habitually you shame yourself over your sluggishness. You tell yourself you’ll do better, then faulter again and again. Well, just like me needing help to carry a load of dirt, don’t you think it’s time to ask for help with your physical burden? Oh sure, you could hire one of those fancy personal trainers that charge an arm and a leg, and undoubtedly while you are dishing out the dough you’ll drop some pounds. But are you going to budget that expense forever, when what you really need is a walking buddy who will hold you accountable to healthy food habits too? And if you’re feeling defeated, don’t you think someone else in your church is too? Instead of trying to convince yourself you can do this on your own (which history has proven false untold times,) why don’t you set your sights on helping someone else? Remember that passage about the three-fold cord? Though a man (or that scoundrel Satan) might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecc 4:12) Who can you invite to regularly walk with you? Who do you know who also struggles with food discipline? What if you committed to uplifting each other? I’m thinking in no time you’ll have a whole group of walkers, and you’ll start swapping healthy recipes too. Now doesn’t that sound a whole lot more fun than struggling on your own?
Oh mercy, why are we so prone to carrying our burdens alone? I’m reminded of Jesus’ invitation to us to allow Him to lighten our load. Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Lord, help us to remember that it’s when we are weak that we become strong, through You and your helpful helpers.