May 14, 2021
II Timothy 1:9
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
On Monday we took time to be thankful for the people who’ve poured into us. On Wednesday we looked at Paul’s advice on how to pour into others. Today, let’s take a masterclass in discipleship; allowing ourselves to be loved and poured into.
Let’s start with a few questions. How likely are you to accept help when it’s offered? How often do you ask for help when you need it? For many of us, the answer is “rarely” or “never.” Why is that?
For some, our motivation is to appear competent. For others, we don’t want to inconvenience another person. Still others just want to be left alone or don’t want to risk being indebted to another person. There are dozens of reasons behind our reluctance to ask for or accept help. But the end result is the same. We struggle to carry the groceries to the car by ourselves. We labor in isolation as new parents instead of asking for help. Before the advent of cell phones, people regularly complained that men never pulled over to ask for directions. We stay late at work to fix a mistake instead of bringing it to the team. We wrestle to overcome harmful habits instead of seeking support.
But look at how Paul lays it out to Timothy. Right after Paul reminds Timothy of the faith and care his mother and grandmother showed him, and right after he describes how we should boldly love others, he talks about grace given to us from Christ Jesus. These are all strands of the same truth. Grace is given to us freely; so we should give it lavishly, but also accept it enthusiastically.
If we’re honest, we’re happy to agree that God’s grace is given freely. We are willing to give it to others as we’re able. But accepting it from others is one of the hardest things to do. It requires accepting our own insufficiency. It validates others’ opinions, wisdom and perspectives. It confirms fears that we are an inconvenience, a burden, and needy. I don’t know about you, but those are truths (and I do know they are sometimes true) that I don’t like to look at.
But there’s a reason God uses other people to help us see the uncomfortable. The ability to embrace our need opens the door for the very thing we want most – the unconditional, extravagant grace of God. The humility that allows others to pour into our areas of brokenness is the same humility that allows God to work in us and through us to a greater degree.
So today, let yourself be loved by others. Ask for help and accept it when offered. See it as a spiritual discipline, the fruit of which is an increased openness to the work God wants to do.