“TO HELP AND BE HELPED”                             By Pastor YAU

Text: 2 Kings 5:9-14                                                November 11, 2007

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    A case in America: In 1869, John Roebling dreamed of building a massive bridge over the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Unfortunately at the outset of the project, his foot was crushed in an accident. In the recovery process, Roebling insisted that he knew best and took charge of his own medical care. By refusing help from medical professionals, he began to show signs of tetanus.  Before long, his jaw had locked into a permanent smile. Seizures and dementia plagued him until his death few weeks later.

2)    A case in Israel: The Bible recorded a story about a successful military man, a proud and independent person who balked at the help offered him. Naaman, a general of ancient Syria, had leprosy. He sought out the prophet Elisha for healing but had his own ideas about how the healing should be done. So when Elisha sent his messenger to tell him to dip in the Jordan River seven times, Naaman was enraged and refused to accept help. But his own servants gave him wise advice: “If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you have not done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘wash and be cleansed!’” (5:13)And so the general followed the prophet’s simple instruction and his leprosy was cured.

 

WHY DO WE NEED HELP?

1)   It fits in God’s design:  With His infinite wisdom and power, God made man with some abilities but not all abilities. Each one of us were given certain abilities, talents, intelligence to do certain things better than others. He did not give to anyone all the abilities or powers to do all things he wants to do. Even Albert Einstein who had superior intelligence in physics but not musical talents.

2)   It meets human needs:  Since no one is all powerful nor has all the abilities and wisdom to do all things, we need help from others from time to time in our life. We were born small and weak, much smaller and weaker than many animals. From the first day of our life, we need others to keep us alive, fed, live and grow. No matter in whatever stage of life, we always need help from someone else in many parts of life experience. No one is truly independent of all others. Without the help of others, our life will certainly be very difficult if not impossible.

3)   It promotes relationship: When God created men and women, He created them with emotional need for others: men and women alike. One of the punishments for those who commit crimes is to take away their privilege of relating to others. The more serious ones are put in solitary confinement---being isolated from others. We need help and help others that promote human relationships. This is true in marriage, family, friendship and other social settings. The need for others helps to draw us to others who we have need from them and/or want to help them. Relationship is important to all of us be it our family, friends, colleagues and others. Often times we identify people by their relationship to us or others. God certainly care very much our relationship with Him. He called the Israelis “You are my people and I am your God.” (Lev. 26:12)

4)   It maximizes results: If we are honest, we realize that the result of one man’s ability is very limited and mostly small. Most of the bigger, more important tasks are done by many people working together, helping each other. Needing help is not something we need to be ashamed of. Instead it is a thing of honor and noble. To be proud or arrogant in refusing help is ignorant and self-centered. Those who are humble to ask for help and are willing to accept help will reap greater results of life.

 

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF HELPING:

1)   Man needs God: The cardinal principle of all: Man needs help from God to know Him, to approach Him and to be saved by Him. In all the principles of help, this is the most important one. Since the dawn of history, man has been trying everything they know to try to know God, to reach to God and to save themselves from their sins. History proves that all efforts of man in this are futile and fruitless. Man’s need of God is the first and the foremost principle we need to learn and to accept. Man needs God is more than just for spiritual needs. Man needs God is also for practical needs. With-out God’s giving of grace in all natural environmental elements like rain, sunshine, dews, the moon and stars, the seasons and cosmic movements in such a precision fashion, no man may survive much less enjoy life. (Thank God for the weather changes that helps to fight the wildfire in southern California earlier this week and last week that destroyed close to 2,000 homes. 10/27/07)

2)   Man needs each other: Man needs to help each other. The Bible told us “we should not just care about our own interests but the interests of others.” (Phil. 4:4)When a man minds only his own need and doesn’t care about the needs of others, he is not fulfilling God’s purpose for his life. When a man is too proud to accept help from others, he has also violated the biblical principle humility and grace. Man needs to be gracious to give help. He also needs to be humble to accept help from others. The Bible says, “In Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to (In other translations supports or helps) all others.” (Romans 12:5)

3)   Man needs to give: The world teaches us to get, to obtain and to accumulate. But God teaches us to give, to sacrifice and to scatter. Many Bible references tell us the purpose of our existence is never to take care of ourselves but to serve and take care of the needs of others by our self giving. It is through the self giving of life Jesus came to this world and died on the cross. It is through the giving to meet the needs of others, the early church in Jerusalem practiced the best form of Christian love and sacrifice. It is the principles of self giving millions of men and women through Christian history gave up their personal goals, comfort, dreams and opportunities to become missionaries, evangelists, pastors and preachers. It is also the principle of giving Christians gave to churches, served in all capacities in various forms to build churches so others may know Christ. Helping is giving. No giving, no helping.

4)   Man needs to receive: The first thing man needs to receive is the gift of salvation through his faith in Jesus Christ. Without humbly receiving the grace of God in the forgiveness of sin, there is no salvation. Man needs to be humble to admit his sins, to ask God for His forgiveness and to accept the gift of eternal life. The Bible says, “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)Man also needs to be humble to receive grace and help from fellow men. We are in this world to help each other. Men should be man enough to receive help from others.

 

LESSONS FROM THE TEXT: (2 Kings 5:9-14)

1)   There are things bigger than you: Naaman was a great warrior, a very successful military man. He had conquered many lands including Judea. His power had driven tens of thousands of troops and millions of people all around. But when he was infested with leprosy, the shameful disease of all diseases, there wasn’t much he can do. He needed help of healing beyond his power or intelligence. We need to learn from him and be humble to realize that we are finite beings. Even with all our power and intelligence, there are too many things we just can do nothing about it. It is time we need to be humble, to realize our limitations.

2)   Seeking God is the only way: Being the most powerful man of a powerful country, Naaman must have all the resources to summon all the capable healing men and medicine for his disease. But all the efforts were proven to be futile and fruitless. There was no other way to get help except to ask the prophet of God whom he used to ignore or despise. Have you ever been in that situation? A situation of no way out? That is the time you need to be humble before God to seek His face and help. At the end of human hands is the beginning of the hand of God.

3)   No one can dictate God: Naaman was so used to be respected. He was proud of his position, intelligence and all the right decisions he had made in his military life. He used to dictate all his subordinates on how things should be done his way. But now when he faced the prophet Elisha, the servant of God, he couldn’t dictate Elisha on how his disease should be healed. If we are sincere in trusting God and His love and power, we need to let God do things His way, not our way, even we don’t understand or don’t agree. No one can dictate God on how things should be done our way.

4)   Listen to friendly advices: The servants of Naaman may be his personal attendants or body guards. These were his most loyal and faithful people. They cared about their master’s healing and had come this far with him seeking for help. They were the more reasonable people than Naaman. They could see the benefits of listening to the prophet and follow those easy steps. They gave advice to their master and Naaman accepted their good will offer and his leprosy was healed. We need to trust those who love us, care for our well being and give us much needed advices. To be too proud to listen to those who love us to give us advices is worse than being ignorant, it is outright self defeating.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Admit your need of help: Be humble to admit that you are not all powerful, not all able nor all self-sufficient. This is true to all of us. Be humble to accept help from God and people. We are here to help each other. Do away of the pride and live your life with much better results by accepting help from family and friends.

2)     Minister to the need of others: Be sensitive to the needs of people around you: your family, your friends, people at church and the community. Be ready and generous to extend a helping hand to make their lives easier and better. God places you there for a good purpose, so fulfill that purpose. “And who knows that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

3)     Accept God’s help: God want to help you to solve your problem of sins. As you repent to Jesus, you will be forgiven. God also want to help you manage your life so it will be much more effective and fruitful. All you need to do is be humble to ask Him to come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. You will experience a different life the moment you accept His offer.