|When my three children were small, we often took an afternoon stroll to the local supermarket to gather our needed fruits, veggies and other staples for the week. My kiddos especially liked a hallmark activity of these trips: visiting a sweet elderly man from church who worked in the bakery section. All the church kids called him Mr. E., but my kiddos lovingly referred to him as “The Cookie Man.”
They could hardly wait to get into the store and sprint their way back to the sweet-smelling section full of pies, breads and assorted colorful confections. The Cookie Man was always ready with a big bear hug and a complimentary peanut butter or chocolate chip cookie for each child to enjoy.
One spring afternoon, the children walked a bit ahead of me and reached the store’s automatic doors before I could. First, Kenna — my oldest, who was about 8 years old at the time and somewhat small for her age — tried to step on the mat in front of the door that causes it to open. However, nothing happened.
She stepped off and then her younger brother Mitchell, who was about 5 years old, also tried but to no avail. Just then my daughter had a brilliant idea. Grabbing both of her little brothers’ hands, they all three jumped on the mat together at the same time and — voilà! It worked! The door swung wide open. They needed their combined weight on the mat to make it work.
We as believers in Jesus need each other. Today’s key verse from Ephesians 4:16 states, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” I love that closing phrase, “… as each part does its work.” We are not meant to be lone rangers; we’re not designed to be islands unto ourselves. We are meant for community.
However, this is not always easy for us to live out in today’s culture. Often we buy into such sentiments as, “If it is to be, it is up to me!” — placing ourselves in the driver’s seat of life, not looking to anyone else to help us along. Or maybe we view asking others for assistance as a sign of weakness, so we never let on that we struggle or could use a helping hand.
On the flip side, when we have the opportunity to take someone’s hand who’s struggling and offer them assistance, support or tangible goods, we’re sometimes so tied up in our own lives that we don’t notice the need for us to grab their hand and help them get somewhere they can’t on their own.
When one member of the body is in need of something — whether it’s physical, financial or emotional — God most often sends comfort in the form of another human to help lighten their load, relieve their pain or encourage their heavy heart. Or when someone is trying to figure out the next steps to take in life, God will use others to help them think through decisions, weigh options and make the next best choice.
When we offer our help in life’s complications and join hands together as spiritual siblings in Christ, we can open doors we might not be able to open on our own.
Will you be willing today to take the hand of another person to help them get to where they need to go, whether it is emotionally, spiritually, physically or financially? When you play the unique part God’s chosen for you in the body of Christ, the results are satisfying — even more than an afternoon treat from The Cookie Man himself!
Father, please help me be attentive to those around me who might need me to take them by the hand to help them get somewhere. I want to play my part and represent You well. It is an honor to have a place in the body of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.