Where Do We Find Grace?
During this Lent season our congregation is doing on study of the book Half Truths; God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say by Adam Hamilton. This week’s lesson will be around the half-truth “God helps those who help themselves”. Without a doubt there is some truth in this statement. I have yet to have the experience of just sitting on my couch eating a bag of Doritos and have someone call and offer me the perfect job at an unbelievable salary. Every job I have ever had required hard work to get the needed training and pounding the pavement. This past summer Ellen and I sold our house. We could have sat on the front porch praying for a buyer to drive up and offer more than the house was worth, but I’m guessing if we had done that, I would have been shoveling snow there this winter. God helped us because we helped ourselves.
While there might be a grain of truth in this statement, the phrase is not in the Bible and it is definitely not the message of the gospel. The message of gospel can be found in Leviticus 23:22 where God commands the farmer to leave something for the poor and the immigrant. Or Matthew 25:40-46 where we are told to feed the hungry and cloth the poor. God wants us to help those who can’t help themselves.
There is another place where I have the experienced the true message of the gospel being lived. You can do all of the right things; eat healthy, exercise, be the right weight, keep things like blood pressure and cholesterol under control. You can do everything to help yourself and still have a stroke. In these times God helps by providing a loving, caring community. A community that provides meals, helps with cleaning, and plays dominoes. A community that prays for you, supports you and cheers for you. A community that is a living demonstration of God’s grace.
How has God helped you, when you couldn’t take care of yourself?