Over the last 40+ years of ministry, I have been involved with, and watched, lots of catastrophic disasters in our country. Tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, fires, and floods; those are just a few of the things we have seen. What always impresses me, is the way that people respond to a series of events like this. It is not just an outpouring of money, it is an outpouring of people putting themselves on the line to help someone else.
We have all seen examples, particularly this past week, of people risking their own lives to help others. Regardless of race, sexual preference, religion, or any other division that we tend to make among ourselves — people helping people has become the shining light through this tragic time. People are coming from all over our country, and even other countries, to help the people of south Texas. Oh, there have been a few that have tried to make political statements and push their issues from what is going on — but, by and large, it is about one person helping another. Sort of the way that God intended for us to act.
This is the post that I intended to write yesterday morning, before I had PC and internet connection problems (and did not have time to get it straightened out). For the last week or so, I have been reading Galatians for my morning devotional, and yesterday I finished it for the third time, from a different translation each time. After reading the ESV and the NIV, I read the New Living Translation — and there was a verse from it, that just reached up and slapped me in the face! Slowly take in what this verse says :
If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. (Galatians 6:3, NLT).
My reaction to that was probably enhanced by all that I have seen and heard over the last few days. When you live in an area that just received 50″ of rain, there is no one that is too important to lend a helping hand. There may be some that think they are, but they … are only fooling … themselves! I thought it would be appropriate to cite a variety of other translations of that verse, before I make one final point.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (ESV)
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. (NIV)
For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (HCSB)
For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. (ASV)
If a man thinks he is “somebody,” he is deceiving himself, for that very thought proves he is nobody. (Phillips)
If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. (The Message)
The verse right before this, instructs us to fulfill the law of Christ, by bearing the burdens of one another. The NLT may not be the word-for-word translation for what the original says, but it captures the heart of the message, in my opinion.
The real challenge is, for all of us, after time passes and we forget the calamity; how will our attitude be about those that need help? Will we maintain the “spirit of Houston,” or will we go back to being a divided, cynical nation again? Will we divide over race, sexual preferences, sexual identity, religion, and economic status? Or will we learn that we are all just a moment’s notice from being a people in dire need? May God help us to learn the lesson that is right in front of us. Peace.