EVERYTHING to everyone we cannot be, but it doesn’t stop us from trying.
At times we can be nobody to no one and if we have the propensity and purpose to help we may regale with the feeling that we’re just no good. It’s a very fine line between not caring enough in ministry and caring too much. It’s no surprise that those drawn to the caring professions are also most susceptible to compassion fatigue.
It takes a special formation in a person who can help with gallant fortitude yet they are also impervious to feeling vulnerable. We may tend to exemplify such a formation for a season, but if we push the envelope too much we are likely to become ineffective, which also renders our confidence (to help) as shot.
It is fair to say that anyone who has a role to care will occasionally feel completely inadequate. Not that we always are when we feel such a thing. Confidence is such a huge thing. Our perception of ourselves can be very important.
When we feel especially vulnerable it’s best that we respond in truth, in prayer, in contact with trusted and wise others, and finally, in the assurance of God’s Presence via the reminder — “I am with you, always, and don’t forget, I have called you.”
In truth we see that we did our best. Our focus may have wavered, our listening may have been inattentive, our advice may have been unbalanced, and our tact may have been askew, but the fact is we did our best with the energy, mind, time, and other resources we had available to us at the time. We did the best we could with what we had.
He who has called us into this at times thankless ministry has done so because he equipped us to do divine work. We accepted that call because we loved the privilege of doing God’s eternal work with very little, for very little — but with a slice of eternity as a reward. Don’t you think God will reward you for the present sacrifices?
We must occasionally remind ourselves of the promises of God, including that of almsgiving and prayer in early Matthew 6. We don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing as far as work for God is concerned. We know that our labour of love is seeing us through to the day of Christ.
When helping gets us down and helping won’t lift us up then it’s to the Holy Spirit we go. Meditating on how pleased God is with just who we are, including our efforts, we imagine our worth in Christ’s eyes. Our identity is in him, not on those who seem not to value our work.
Helping others is often a privilege, but it involves risks. Helping others is best undergirded by the ability to be helped by God.
If we cannot receive God’s help when we need it we’re ill-equipped to help others.
Likewise, if we cannot receive other people’s help we’re ill-equipped to help other people.
Put positively, those who are able to receive help from others are often able to help others to receive what they need.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.