Depending on when we were born, we carry with us memories of our generation, both good and bad. As a child of the 60’s, I have distant memories of the emergence of the Beatles and their global impact. With the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles celebration at Abbey Road this month, I was reminded of a song they released in 1965 titled ‘Help’. Its chorus goes:

“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ‘round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?”

These words have reverberated from generation to generation, a subtle plea from the human heart for assistance and care. In many ways they are prophetic and contagious. As we engage in this life, there are times when we all need assistance and support from one another.

In 2018, the Australian Loneliness Report [1] highlighted that one in four Australians feel lonely and isolated at least one day a week. The report flags isolation as so pervasive and its effects as so damaging that we could face a ‘loneliness epidemic’ into the future.

When Paul writes to the Corinthian Church in 1 Corinthians 12:28, he lists some of the roles that God has appointed to serve the church. Included in this list is the gift of Helps: those who can help others. In the original text the Greek word ‘helps’ means ‘to relieve, succour, participate in, and support’.  

So often our church culture is infatuated with our internal gifts that we lose capability and compassion to reach externally to those who need our help. Our help is not simply physical assistance but may include:

  • A listening ear;
  • A discerning mind to help pinpoint and reflect issues;
  • A caring demeanour;
  • An ability to stand alongside;
  • A referral to a support group or counsellor trained to help with mental health;
  • A coffee or a tea for a catchup with no agenda;
  • A willingness to serve and offer compassion;
  • An offer to pray for the other; and
  • An outworking of the gift to connect others into true community.

One thing is for sure – our society is increasingly fragmented and isolated. True community is built on the foundation of helping each other. I so hope we exercise this gift regularly.

Fresh hope is not simply an idea. It is backed up with care and concern.

Dr. Andrew Ball
Executive Ministry Director

 

[1]   See:  https://psychweek.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Psychology-Week-2018-Australian-Loneliness-Report.pdf