This saying is missing three key words from what Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy. The missing words “love” and “all kinds.” Now read what Paul actually wrote: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” [1 Timothy 6:10] Note the importance difference. Paul is not saying that money is evil. He implies that money is neutral. God, in all of the Bible, never tells us that money is evil in of itself. We can choose to use it for good or evil. What is evil is when money becomes an idol for us. When we love money more than God, that is when we open the door for evil of all sorts.
“Man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel. The GODS help them that help themselves.”
We see cute little whimsical says all of the time; on bumper sticker, in holiday and birthday cards, on billboards and lots of other places to catch our attention. They are the “sound bites” of wisdom no matter what era in which we happen to live.
Unfortunately, these sayings are nowhere to be found in the Bible. Even though they are easy to remember and sound wise, they are unbiblical. If one takes the time to read the Bible and compare what it says against the saying, mostly what they teach is opposite to what the Bible really teaches. Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs this: “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” [Proverbs 3:7 NLT] Dallas Willard translates this verse as: “I don’t know what I need to know and must now devote my full attention and strength to finding out.”
Here is the 1st of twenty:
“God helps those who help themselves.”
As with so many misstatements from the Bible, this statement is actually about self-reliance and self-righteousness. It’s point is simple: if we have an attitude of trying harder and doing better, then God will step in and help us and not before. However, this attitude actually gets in the way of the work of God.
It is hard to nail down where this saying originated but most historians say that it seems to first appear in the Aesopian fable Hercules and the Wagoneer. Aesop lived from about 620–564 BC. Like most fable of its genre it is brief so here it is in its entirety:
A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. “O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress.” But Hercules appeared to him, and said: “Man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel. The GODS help them that help themselves.”
Benjamin Franklin, known for being a deist and author of Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1736 wrote: “God helps them that help themselves.” Franklin did not believe that God was playing any active role in the affairs of men. He of the Yankee mindset common to the New England states at that time that if a man was not willing and able to help himself, then that man was without hope and not to be pitied. Ben’s attitude was if men were without hope and felt helpless were just out of luck. The Bible teaches something very unique. Ben Franklin was very much aware of this difference from hearing and commenting on great preachers such as George Whitfield and D.L. Moody, both who preached in Boston. God’s message to us is this: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly….But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We are not left without help. We just need to look in the right direction to find the solution that God has provided: “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”
McDonald’s has 1.7 million workers worldwide; the Church has only 400,000 missionaries. It’s not a lack of resources, but hardened hearts.
Something worth reposting from OM World Bytes by Lawrence Tong, O.M. International Director:
I recently read a study that estimated that today’s total Bible-believing missionary force is approximately 400,000 men and women among over 6.4 billion people who have yet to confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour (including nominal Christians and sects)—one missionary for 16,000 unreached people! Frankly, that is depressing and unacceptable. McDonald’s has 1.7 million workers worldwide; the Church has only 400,000 missionaries. It’s not a lack of resources, but hardened hearts. The great need, anywhere in the world, is for ‘ordinary people’ to share the good news among neighbours.
When Jesus said that the harvest is great but the workers are few, He did so at the pinnacle of His ministry and popularity (Matt. 9:37). Today millions are turning to Christ, often from least-expected areas. A pastor told me that 5,000 Muslims were coming to faith in Christ every week in Indonesia. It took 2,000 years to grow the Christian population to four per cent; in the last 60 years, we have leapt to twelve per cent. If that doesn’t amaze us and spark a reflex, we need to ponder why. You might say that the harvest is plentiful, but our response is pitiful.
Highlighting the harvest and need for workers, Jesus’ command was clear: Pray. My first introduction to the classic OM prayer meeting was in 1977. A group returning from serving with OM invited me to a small room, where I joined 30 others. The leader gave out a set of 52 simple prayer cards, saying that everyone should take a few and then pray aloud for the needs of those nations. Never had I dreamt of doing such a thing and I can’t remember the countries I prayed for. But the attitude of the group was life-changing for me: They prayed fervently in expectation that God would change the world through prayer. We need to bring that kind of prayer meeting back.
In a past era, teams would only advance through prayer and sacrifice. In place after place, there would be strong resistance, and so we waited on God. Of course it was not easy. Of course we had to be willing to encourage one another to keep praying, keep thinking about lost and suffering people. Of course we understood that our own needs paled in comparison and that God was in charge anyway. Is it time to capture that again? Of course it is.
O.M. International Director.
There is good news and bad news available in the world in which we live. One would have to be a hermit living in a cave without any connection to media not know that our world is in trouble. I am not just talking about the incessant news about the agressive mud-slinging presidential canidates boasting about how they alone are the only ones capable of saving America. I am talking on a global scale about the degrading state of affires here in the USA and around the world. Murder, terrorism, hate mongering, lying, alcoholism, bolimeia, cheating, boasting, aggression, racism, religious fanatism, greed and God-hating, just to name a few. There is no security in the world that can be provided by humans. The lack of security creates a craving for long-lasting ability to live peaceful lives. No matter how much we try to fill our lives with things, we are still left in an unsatisfied state. We can never quite fill the glass of our hearts to the brim to quench that thirst. That is the bad news.
Isn’t is sad that governments around the world pour billions upon billions of dollars into solutions involving military saber rattling, mental illness initiatives, evolutionary science; in reality doing everything humanly possible to keep God out of the equation. Maybe that is where we should turn as a last resort? We have tried everything else. God is the one who made us and not we ourselves. The craving for peace can only be fulfilled when we as a people know that God is sovereign. We can ignore and deny that fact. Turning our backs will not make the fact go away. Since He alone is the Creator of all things infinite and finite, we are marked with His image. We are meant to be doing life in His pastures.
Therefore, in order to quench this craving for elusive peace, we need to conscouiously make a choice to serve the Lord and do it not grudgingly as religous duty. We must do it with gladness. But that will noly happen untill we decide to come into His presence and willingly acknowledge that He is God and not we ourselves. Only then will deep seated craving we all have for peace be satisfied. Try it; you just might be caught by surprise!
Progress in our journey of faith is made public in the testing.
Sometimes things stare at us in the face and we are too busy to take notice. Listen to the following quote: “[Jesus is] my rock and my fortress and for Your name’s sake You lead and guide me. … My times are in Your hand.” [Psalm 31:3,15] These are not questions of faith. These are statements considered fact from those who knew firsthand what life-threatening trouble was like. David was not hopeful that what he prayed was true. He knew from first-hand experience the truth. Jesus prayed this prayer often not because he was hopeful but because he demonstrated trust that God was his only rock and fortress during the times of profound duress.
Resolute trust. That is what it takes to turn head knowledge into experiential faith. It is the essence of wisdom. It is a process revealing progress as we learn through each new trial that Jesus has in fact redeemed and restored us and therefore we can commit ourselves into His hands. Progress in our journey of faith is made public in the testing. When trouble comes do we first blame God? Do we question ‘why’ and turn away from God? Christ followers the world over will testify to the fact that when ‘life goes south’ it is here that they have the opportunity to discover with each new faith-challenging circumstance that God has not delivered them into the hand of their enemies. But we have to be willing to look at the rock and not at the waves. We have to be willing to step out of the boat and follow Jesus wherever He leads.
Most of the time profound truth lies in the areas where we do not want to relinquish control. We see life from an finite, not an infinite position. Knowing this we still resist wanting to surrender control of our lives. We have trouble seeing the “image of God” in others. Just listen to the rhetoric being slung around from leaders who claim to be Christian this year.
“My times are in Your hand.” [David]
“What God does in time, He planned from eternity. All that He planned from eternity, Jesus carried out in time.” [J.I.Packer]
No matter the direction of the wind, they flex. If they were rigid, they would snap.
One summer afternoon years ago, an older business friend and I were at a cafe having coffee. We liked the place because it had a great view of a tree filled park across the street with a spectular view of the snow-topped Colorado Rockies behind it. This particular afternoon, I was complaining about a office situation that I was up-in-arms about. After I finished my ‘rant, he asked if he might give me a word of advice. I respected his insights so I said sure. He told me to put my coffee down, turn in my seat and take a good look out the window.
I looked and then turned back to him. “Turn around and look again,” he said. “You know why those magnificient oak trees live to be hundreds of years old?” I shook my head ‘no.’ “Because they are flexible. When the winds come roaring in gale force down from the mountains or howling off of the plains, they bend. No matter the direction of the wind, they flex. If they were rigid, they would snap. That’s why they live to be hundreds of years old.” By the time I had turned around he had picked up the tab and left.
We are becoming more and more an inflexible society. Bending does not mean changing. Bending means absorbing the ebb and flow of ideaological currents. Inflexiblilty results in chaos and cruelty.
Jesus saw two fishermen, brothers casting their nets from the shore of the lake and He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.[Mk. 4:19-20] No questions asked. No hesitation. Just immediate action of dropping their nets and following Jesus.
That is the best action we can take. Just dropping our nets full of stuff that we do not need, that weighs us down and trips us up. Jesus is calling out to people. He is listening for the sound of nets dropping to the ground. The next sound should be our purposeful footsteps following Jesus in faith.
What stops you from dropping your ‘net.’ What stops Jesus from from using you for ministry?
How much is one human being worth? How much value can be assigned to one individual?
How much is one human being worth? How much value can be assigned to one individual? Is a person’s importance a factor in assigning worth to a human being?
Each one of us is of immeasurable value to God because our lives belong to Him; He created us whether we choose to believe it or not. There is no human measuring device that can assign some numerical value to an individual life. Life insurance places a value on our lives; the more money we pay into the policy the more we are worth. No paid in, no worth assigned. If we cannot assign a value to life, then maybe we need an outside source to help us.
Most of us are not career practitioners in the life saving business on the street or in hospitals. By that I mean we are not on the front lines of life and death situations like firemen, emergency room personnel, police or first responders in ambulances. The inherent motto of their profession is “all people are of the same value and worth saving.” Regardless of how they ended up in that circumstance they are given life saving aid, at least in America. However, in some other countries, life saving professionals may not be so inclined if the victim is racially or politically different.
When we think of life saving, we generally think of someone who is at death’s door due to an accident. But there is another type of life saving that is less dramatic unless one is aware of the dramatic yet unseen consequences of not rescuing that person. It is one thing to see the physical danger and act in a life saving manner accordingly. It is another to affirm the value of others and verbally or physically bless them. We fight to save lives. Do we have the same attitude as Jesus and refuse to be OK with wasted life, sacrificing our lives for others. All of heaven celebrates joyfully when one life is rescued. This celebration points to the value we have to God.
The Spirit of God reminded the Prophet Ezekiel that “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine …” God is the Supreme Creator. He values us far above human valuation systems. Doubtful? Look at what He accomplished through the cross and how that communicates our value through His rescue of us. Paul reminds us that “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” Think about that for a moment. ‘Even when we were dead’ to God; even when we wanted no part of God or what He stood for, He had a plan and it was not to abandon us. Because we have inestimable worth to God, He counts us worth the death of His son Jesus to save us.
This give us a clue as to why Jesus made it a point that it was not just loving God that was important but at the same level we are to love our neighbor. “… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:30-31] Think about the last seven days. When did you take the opportunity this week to mentally give the benefit of the doubt to someone or verbally bless him or her?
All too often we fail to see those around us as God sees and values them. Luke the doctor turned historian quotes Jesus: “I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” I read this and I wonder how serious do I take Jesus’ words? I want to make a difference and experience the reality of the heavenly celebration of the rescue of those in your world … my ‘neighbors.’
If you take the time to read the Bible as a book you will find it’s not some sort of rule manual but a book of art. It has great literature and high stakes drama. It opens people’s lives to the public viewing. It demonstrates humanity at its best and it’s worse. It shows how human value others for better or worse. And it reveals the heart of God the Creator and the importance He places on every human being regardless of their outward appearance and actions. God told Ezekiel: “… all souls are mine …” A few years ago a child into into a very narrow and deep well. Strangers to the child went to great lengths and expense to rescue the child. If anyone, if just one child who has no economic value is that valuable, then shouldn’t everyone be just as valuable. If it’s true for just one person then it is true for everyone.
The apostle Paul told the church in Ephesus that “God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved)…” God just never seems to run out of mercy. And this is a repeated theme throughout the Bible; God is a God of mercy. That is what sets this God apart from all other gods.
Consider the Creation. When God was planning out what He was going to create, it was no accident that humans were created with free will. God the Creator no doubt ‘ran the numbers’ and realized that giving us free will could very well put a fly in the ointment of His flawless creation. He went ahead and created us anyway and felt like it was worth it. Sometimes we spend too much time paying attention to the negative things in our life and not saying “yes” to our value as God sees us. We are not worthless to Him no matter what we’ve done. And if we say “yes” to our own value as set by God, agreeing with God that we are worthwhile, then we have to say “yes” to the value of others around us.
Seeing ourselves as valuable and worthwhile to God is not a ‘head’ game. It is a matter of the heart’s conviction. Jesus often instructed his disciples in human values. Here is how Matthew records it: “I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Idiot’ shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; and whoever says, you ‘fool or moron’ shall be guilty enough to go to the fires of hell.” We as a society have become so loose in our conversation and what Jesus says is almost meaningless. But what He is bringing out is the contemptible attitude in our hearts toward other people. James, who didn’t become a Christ follower until after the death of his half-brother, makes this observation: “… with our tongues we bless our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God …”
“After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
Jesus was finishing a plan conceived by his Father on a celestial plane. We here on the terrestrial plane saw massive failure. This was the final humiliating human action. Stripped naked, nailed to a cross, raised up in a hill for all to see and mock. Now the final insult. His only earthly possessions now being gambled on … He did endured it all for us! For me!