That question is music to my ears – sometimes, but at other times, I hate that question with a purple-passion. Say what? Yes, there are times when I legitimately want and need help, but there are times when I could use some help, but am loath to admit it.
I wrote “Tired Of Being “Tough”” in September of 2017 about my struggles with handling all the losses I had had in the previous several months. That is one time when I am very grateful that help IS available, because since I wrote and posted that piece, I have had several more traumatic-losses, which now brings the number of significant-losses in the last two years to five. The last loss was in April 2018, my middle daughter, but I didn’t find out about it until New Year’s Eve. I lost my brother in July 2018, after a long illness. That is a LOT of losses for one person to process and handle at the same time. I am still seeing a mental-health counselor once a quarter, and I am thankful that he is there for me.
We have all been in stores when we can’t seem to find ANYTHING, at least not what we are looking for. WalMart is infamous for rearranging their stores in a seemingly-random manner, and even if we have been in that same store a hundred times, there is always something we can’t find, and only store employees know where it is. That is when I don’t mind asking, or getting asked, if I need help.
I was in Staples a few months ago looking for a new desktop computer, and one of the employees was there to explain the differences between the various models they have, and make recommendations about which one would best suit my needs. A new computer will have to wait a while, because I have several more important issues to take care of first. Thank you very much!
I called Tire Kingdom a few days later about two tires for my vehicle. The store manager graciously helped me select the tires that would best suit my needs, based on his many years of experience in the tire business, and what he runs on his personal vehicles. His recommendations verified my own gut-feeling, so my new tires were shipped in from their warehouse, and installed a few days later. I also found out that my vehicle’s brake pads and rotors were worn-out, so I had to have them replaced. Thank you very much!
Thanks, but no-thanks…
There are also times when I DO need help, but I am too stubborn to admit it. Maybe, it’s more like, too PROUD to admit it. I have needed those tires for several weeks, but haven’t had the money to buy them, so I have kept putting it off. Now, it is crunch-time, because I just don’t trust them, particularly on the highway, any more. I made the mistake of admitting to one of my church’s deacons that I need two new tires but don’t have the money for them, so he offered help from the deacon’s fund. Thanks, but no-thanks!
2017 was a different story, because my refrigerator died suddenly in March, and I didn’t have any choice about accepting help to buy a new fridge because I didn’t have the money. I was able to maximize the help by getting my new fridge on sale. That helped me be a good steward of the resources God provided through my church.
In the early 90’s, my family and I were subsisting on my very-meager income – $200/week. We certainly would have qualified for food-stamps, but we were too self-sufficient (PROUD) to apply. My wife was the only person I have ever met who could pull something out of an “empty” pantry and an “empty” refrigerator and put a meal on the table for a family of six thirty-minutes later. We could have eaten “better” on food-stamps, but we never went hungry, thanks to her creative-genius in the kitchen. We thought that other people needed that help worse than we did. Thanks, but no-thanks!
Why was 2018 any different? I know that I wasn’t as frugal with my resources in the last year as I should have been, but, then again, I was counting on some income to help pay me extra expenses which never materialized. That left me in a bind as far as taking care of my own needs.
I have been taught to “own” and accept my choices and decisions, for better or for worse, and to deal, as best I can, with the outcomes. Maybe I am too stubborn, or maybe I am too proud, but I can’t accept financial-assistance to buy my tires. Thanks, but no-thanks!
Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. (Mark 10:46-52)
Bartimaeus couldn’t have descended much lower of the social-scale. He was blind, and a beggar. Only lepers were “below” him, and even servants and slaves “ranked” higher than him because they could at least work for their living. When he heard that Jesus was coming, out of desperation, with nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain, he called-out to Jesus; “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus’ reputation had been spread far and wide, so Bartimaeus had probably heard many stories about His miraculous-healings. Would Jesus help him? Why did he throw aside his cloak when he was led to Jesus?
Do you detect a bit of “imagery” here?
50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
What did Bartimaeus call Jesus when he made his request? “Rabbi” was the typical title for religious leaders, but Bartimaeus called Jesus “Rabboni“. “Rabboni” is Hebrew for “my master“, a recognition of and submission to Jesus’ authority. Who else called Jesus “Rabboni“?
Since Bartimaeus was claiming Jesus as his master, he may have not wanted to appear before Jesus dressed as he was. That cloak may have been all he owned, and was probably little more than a rag. There was no shame attached to nakedness in the Bible, other than the shame associated with extreme-poverty or enslavement, so Bartimaeus’ only “shame” would have been his poverty, symbolized by his tattered cloak.
God commanded Isaiah, in Isaiah 20, to prophesy barefoot and naked for three years against Egypt and Cush. When they were conquered by the Assyrians, they would be led-away as slaves, barefoot and naked. Isaiah’s nakedness symbolized how they would be treated when they were conquered. It was also to serve as a warning to Israel, which had, contrary to God’s command, made a defense-pact with Egypt and Cush. It was not “shameful” for Isaiah to prophesy naked, but they would be shamed in their captivity.
After Bartimaues made his request to Jesus, Jesus healed him immediately, saying; “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
Following Jesus, in gratitude for what He had done for him, was the natural-result of this incredible miracle. There are many other instances when Jesus healed people and they became His followers.
What about us?
We are constantly putting on a “show” for others, and ultimately for God, but why? We try to pretend that we have it all together, that we are self-sufficient, and that we have everything under control, and while we may fool the people around us, we can’t fool God. He sees us naked, as we are, stripped-bare of all of our pretenses, so why do we try to fool Him too?
Regardless of the resolution of my financial-situation, there is one person I, and you, need never be ashamed for asking for what we need – God. He already knows our needs before we ask Him, so why aren’t we willing to take our needs to Him? He won’t ever embarrass us, and He has far more resources than we can ever imagine. Yes, sometimes we need to be more like Bartimaeus, and less like stubborn-me, but we also need to have the wisdom to know when we REALLY need help, and accept it when we do.
Sola Deo Gloria!