To help people, learn to stay away

By Not Known

Back in 1997, Calvin Miller wrote The Book of 7 Truths; an interesting tale within a tale about a mysterious man who forever changes the lives of another.  He spoke of the enduring powers of faith and demonstrated the true meaning of generosity and forgiveness.  One of the 7 truths in the book is: You cannot help people if you are always with people.

Even though it sounded simple enough, it took me a long time to finally discover how it was applied.  Jesus himself demonstrated that truth when he often went away to be alone with the Father.  In John 17, he left his disciples and went away from people in order to pray by himself.  Earlier in John 14, Jesus went over carefully the fact that he would be taken away from them in the visible human form they had known.  He then explained that another Comforter would come and be active and interactive in their lives.  He is the one who would come alongside to help them.

This Comforter would help those who are set aside or set apart as the holy ones or the saints.  Peter (in 1 Peter 2) told us that we were the “chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the people for his own possession,” and that we were “once not a people, but now God’s people, once had no mercy but now had received mercy.”

We as saints or holy ones are able to see God and have a special and unique relationship with him.  And God gives himself to us in our lives and in our hearts and minds.  We have that deeply-rooted seed of God’s character planted inside us and that this seed has the propensity to germinate and grow to maturity.

The way God does it is in communication with us through his word and through his Spirit.  This is where the mystery of discipleship is: among other things, silence and solitude, personal uninterrupted times with God through his word and away from people become critical means of growing into Christlikeness.  When we are alone with God and away from people, we are being prepared to help people.  Our effectiveness in the people-helping ministry depends on how often we are listening and speaking with God in private.

Your answers to these questions will help.  How effective am I in helping people?  How often do I stay away from them and spend time with God privately?

 Peter Poon