We’ve all heard the story of the man sitting on his rooftop during a flood. You know it, he passes up a rescue boat, a helicopter, etc., saying he is trusting God to rescue him. This does, I suppose, shed light on the old adage, “God helps those who helps themselves.”
I’ve never had a problem helping myself. I reckon my biggest problem is that I help myself too much and fail to trust God enough. I tend to be proud, prone to action, and perhaps I don’t think things through. Quick to judge. Quick to anger. Of little faith. Because I know these things, I ask God to help me change them.
I find the converse of that story to also be true, or truer. Many Christians are apt to see a brother suffering some sort of flood in his life and do nothing more than pray for him. Here is how that story goes:
A man sits on his rooftop as flood waters rise, desperately praying to God and calling everyone he knows on his cell, saying, “My house is gone. If help doesn’t arrive soon, I’ll drown. Everyone he calls sympathizes, agrees with him in prayer, offers encouragement, but no one rescues him. Not even emergency responders come to his aid.
Of course, while this is just another illustration, there is truth to it. The Bible does not say, “God helps those who helps themselves.” No. That’s a Ben Franklin quote. The Bible speaks much more about how God helps the helpless than about helping oneself. Paul, in his letters talks much more about man’s weakness and God’s strength than man’s strength.
James in his epistle places great stock in faith, and he pairs it with action. It is not enough to know the Word and Will of God. We must act on it. We must put it into action (James 1:22-25). We are, the body of Christ and, though I do not understand it, God – who created all that exists – has chosen to work His will and His miracles through broken and repentant people like you and me. We are His body, His hands and His feet. Prayer Should compel us to act.
Too often I have been the recipient of a phone call from a flooded brother. I pray, but fail to act. I have sometimes (even recently) been the one drowning and ignored.
Don’t neglect your struggling Christian brothers and sisters. Don’t assume that everything will turn out all right for them in the end. They may get lost in the flood.
Micah 6:8 NIV – He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.