Last updated 6/15/2021 at Noon
Yesterday was a clean-up day in the yard.
The Scotties are like three-year-olds. They always want to help Mom in their yard. If I’m digging, they want to dig right next to me. If I’m raking, they want to help by playing with the rake. If I’m blowing leaves, they think it’s great help to bite the end of the blower and chase the blowing leaves.
It seems to me that God gives all of us—humans and animals—a pure desire to help, at least when we are young. If children are denied the chance to help or criticized about the work they do, they’ll lose that helpful aspiration. Yet, if they are encouraged to help and praised for their results, children grow up to lead happy lives and they become wonderful contributors to society.
The young man who often helps me with heavy yard work is a case in point. This delightful 29-year-old grew up in a home of addiction. Both parents were alcoholics. His brother became an alcoholic and addicted to drugs. He followed his brother down that rabbit hole until he met God and Alcoholics Anonymous. Despite his early home’s conditions, as a child he tried to help his mother, whom he dearly loved; and she encouraged him.
Once sober — and now sober for more than three years — this enjoyable young man’s helping nature bloomed. I love to work with him. He is always kind; always looking to do the best job. He’s just a uniquely beautiful person. He says he still struggles with depression but his church and his relationship with God help him get out of his moods.
Controlling “moods” is one of the great keys to building a successful spiritual life. The beatitude “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” offers us guidance on that success key, if we understand the full meaning of one word: righteousness.
Many Christians think righteousness means simply doing the right thing. Jesus, many times, including in this beatitude, tells us that we must also think right. Remember, He said that if you commit adultery in your heart, you have already done the deed.
The reason behind this admonition is simple. If we think about doing bad things often enough, we’ll do them, or something nearly as bad, in the long run.
If my yard-working friend thinks about drugs too much, he’ll be doing them again soon. When he tells me that “God helps him,” a lot of the help he gets is simply taking his focus off drugs and putting it on the love and glory of God, thus changing his mood.
Helping others is the most powerful thing I know, other than deep prayer, for drawing us out of wrong thinking, sadness, and depression. Helping others changes our focus from self and moves us up spiritually, bringing us closer to God.
It is always easy to find people to help. They are our neighbors, our friends, and strangers too. We all need some help, and we all need to help others. After all, help is just one form of love.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2