Friday, September 26, 2008

I've Come to Help


You may remember the old Flip Wilson routine when someone asked Flip about his religion. He answered, "I am a Jehovah's Bystander."

"A Jehovah's Bystander?" remarked his friend. "I never heard of a Jehovah's Bystander."

Flip said, "Well, they asked me to be a witness, but I didn't want to get involved."

In these troubled times, I think Edmund Burke is right. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil," he says, "is for good men to do nothing."

We can complain about injustices, we can lament the suffering of the world and even feel sorry for the helpless plight of others. Or we can do what we can, even if it's only a little.

Theodore Roosevelt read a book by New York newspaperman Jacob Riis titled How the Other Half Lives. We often think of the "other half" as living in luxury. The other half are those who are powdered and pampered. The rich and famous. Movers and shakers.

But the book did not describe the wealthiest few of society. Instead it described the slums of the city, with all its vice and crime. Families living in poverty and fear – too afraid to leave their homes after dark. The other half, said Riis, are the poor among us.

Theodore Roosevelt was moved to action. He went at once to the newspaper office where the author worked, but Riis was not in. Roosevelt left his card and wrote on it, "Have read your book and have come to help."

He did not say, "Have read your book and have come to discuss." Or, "Have read your book and have come to compliment you on your writing." He said, "Have read your book and have come to help."

"I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Nineteenth century writer Edward Everett Hale said that.

He speaks to me today.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: freeimages.com/Michael & Christa Richert

1 comment:

Manuel De La Paz said...

I appreciate the message you were trying to get across in today's post. The humorous story you injected into it I had heard before. It still made me smile. A few thoughts came across my mind about helping others. I was surprised at some of the rewards one gets back from serving others. Take my experiences for example.

About 10 years ago I quit my Contracting Business and started out doing part time work which I expected to be lower in pay. I wanted to do more volunteer work and thought I could get by and spend more time helping others than I was spending on making a living. I have some online businesses that do help me. I found out that there are a lot of people that really need help. Some need more encouragement than they do counsel. I would do this using scripture and stealing some humor from you. Others just wanted a listening ear. Some just need a companion. Especially when they run into a health crisis. Some spanish speaking friends could not get the help they needed until we started going with them and sharing our thoughts with the doctors as well. Sometimes we were there for encouragement. So whatever it was they needed if it was a trip to the store or taking an air conditioner out of the window we did our best as well as sharing bible thoughts.

What I wasn't ready for was when people start to love you back. I was at stiff at first but learned to say "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart. It was funny when I saw that my wife had to open up a little to this response as well. Yes like our Examplar, Jesus, we do have to get down and wash some feet as well. It is the only way to help people where they really need the help.

The rewards are great and unexpected. Even if no one ever says "Thank you" there is still much said to helping people through the fearful things in this world.