When is the last time you asked for help?
Let me put it this way, when’s the last time you graciously, genuinely and humbly asked for help?
And I don’t mean from Siri or Google.
If you’re a leader type, I’m guessing this is extra hard for you.
Did you know, the greatest leaders ask for help? The greatest leaders know asking for help, especially outside your normal circle, opens up new connections and opportunity. Asking for help invites more people into the process. Asking for help means you don’t have to be the expert, but still get expert advice helping you and your Kingdom cause.
One of the details I’ve been dwelling on lately comes from Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well in John 4. Jesus is resting at a well in what Jews considered the sketchy area of Samaria, and a woman comes up to the well and Jesus says to her “Will you give me a drink?” This whole encounter begins by Jesus saying to someone outside the nice Jewish religious, moral circle “Hey, will you help me out and share your water bottle with me?”
I love this detail. Here Jesus is, the sent one from God, the One sent to help us and save us, asking for help. Jesus, the missionary in this situation, first connects with this woman not by giving her water to drink, not by providing for her needs but by asking her to give him a drink. Now, that’s humility. That’s dumping out any self-righteousness (which Jesus had a right to have, he IS the only righteous one.) No pre-judging. No “holier than thou” attitude. No, you better listen to what I have to say. No “have I got life figured out.” No invitation to the synagogue or to a Bible study. No asking why she’s hanging out at the well at mid-day.
Jesus smiling and asking “Could I have some water, please?”.
I think this is a clue we need to pay attention to as Christians today. Sometimes the best way to connect with our neighbours is to ASK for help rather than offering help as the bigger brother or sister, rather than coming in as the church and thinking we’ve got it all figured out and have the solution for you.
To ask your neighbour, who does NOT know about all this “Jesus stuff” yet:
- Can you help me get healthier?
- Where do you take your kids for activities in winter? Can we do that together?
- Can you show me how you get your garden to grow so well in our neighbourhood?
- Can you help our church respond to the refugee crisis?
- Can you come alongside our family and help us with some rides and some meals during this season of hardship we’re going through?
- You are amazing at baking. Can you help our kids make some cupcakes that they want to take to thank the education assistance in their school?
- Can you give us a ride to the airport?
- You really are a social media expert. Can you help us understand that world?
- You’re a teenager who understands our culture. Can you help us understand the pressures on teenagers today?
- Can you help us host a BBQ for the people on our street?
- You’re an urban planner. Can you help us understand our city?
- Where do people go in this town for the best ______?
- You know grants. Can you help us figure out this whole grant application?
- Can you help us understand what it is like to be a newcomer to our area?
Dump out our self-righteousness bucket and ask people for help. Jesus asks HER for a drink.
God often uses these experts outside our usual circles to teach us, help us and to reveal where He is at work in the lives of people outside the church family. You can ask for this kind of help both as an individual or as a ministry team. Then take Jesus with you (you are in Christ everywhere you go, on mission everywhere you go) as you receive the help.
God often uses the outsider and our connections with the outsider for greater Kingdom purposes.
We are NOT the expert in all things. We do NOT have all the tools.
Jesus did not have a bucket, he asked for a drink.
What don’t you have? Where do you need help? Where does your church need help?
Where can you ask for help in your community?
God may want to use that VERY connection to reveal His Living Water to your community.
It won’t work if you stay in your holy huddle.
It won’t work if you keep the “We’ve got everything we need within this little circle” mentality.
It won’t work if you think God can’t use someone else, who doesn’t know Jesus yet, to help you.
It won’t work if you’re too afraid to ask for water.
It won’t work if you’re too prideful or self-righteous and can’t admit you need help.