The following is a message I was blessed to share at Point Of Mercy on Sunday.
17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
1 Corinthians 12:28
28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
I. Introduction – Two Objects, 3 Rules Of Thumb
I miss our Pastor today, he is Ministering to those in the Bristol Church today. He has asked me to speak on one of my favorite topics. It’s something I’m very passionate about, and that is what The Bible calls The Ministry Of Helps.
To do that, I’d like to use two objects, and 3 Rules Of Thumb, to illustrate the office. I’ll talk about the items first, a rope, and an umbrella.
The two objects have a few things in common. They are water, preparation, and the fact that they are not designed to work by themselves.
II. Rope, The Nature Of The Office
In Acts 27:17, the Apostle Paul is on a boat, the waves are busting against the boat, trying to do as much damage as possible. During that time, the sailors took ropes, or chains, and undergirded the ship.
Later, when explaining the structure of the Church in 1 Corinthians, that same Apostle, uses the word Helps again. He mentions them between the Ministry of Healing, and Administration. Between The Divine, and The Divinely Appointed, you will find The Gift Of Helps.
For generations, the Church has been compared to a mighty sailing ship. So it’s interesting that this word parallels these two Verses.
What is a Help, in that majestic ship of Zion? They’re not the sail that catches The Wind. They’re not the wheel that steers the ship. They’re not the navigator who charts the course. Helps are the ropes that help the ship against the waves.
I am proud to say I have been called to The Ministry Of Helps, and I love it dearly. My first experience with it, is one of my earliest memories of Church. Unlike some, I’ve had four sets of Grandparents. Two were blood, two were adopted.
One was Grandpa Ott Shelton, and the remembrance that I have is him conducting the preliminaries where Grandpa Hill, my maternal Grandfather Pastored. When Grandpa Hill spoke, Grandpa Ott sat behind him, supporting him.
I can still remember the sweat running down his face as the old metal fan circulated. What I didn’t know, was how my life would be impacted by both men, by both callings. What I was seeing was two offices in God’s Kingdom. One was rope, held in Anointed, human hands, like the ropes in the hands of the shipmen. The other, was what God described as Anointed Stars Of Light, in The Hand Of A Mighty God.
To understand one office, you have to look briefly at the other. The Apostle Paul, a Pastor, and the Leaders God has given to receive His Vision for the Church, have an awesome responsibility.
Revelation 1:13, 16-17
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
16 And He had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Looking briefly at Revelation 1:16-17, let me ask you a very practical question. If The Stars were in The Right Hand of Jesus in Verse 16, and His Hand is resting on John’s shoulder in Verse 17, where did The Stars go?
I believe they went the same place that the Urim and Thummim stones went in the days of Aaron’s Priesthood. In a pocket of the Ephod over the heart of the High Priest. You see I believe that The Men Of God spend their lives, either in The Hand Of God, or hearing and connecting with the Heartbeat Of God.
I don’t use the term Man Of God in a chauvinistic meaning. I use it to convey the weight of the office. Helps are not these Leaders. Helps are the metal ropes attached to the ephod of the High Priest, helping to hold things in place.
Helps are placed in the hands of these leaders for the benefit of The Church. A Help is not designed to command the horizon, but is an instrument to help the Church get there safely.
The office of a Man Of God is a calling of Vision. The office of a Help, is a calling of Perception. God did not give me a blueprint of 200 Gleaves (where God has brought Point Of Mercy too), but He did give me the perception to see that He had given it to our Pastor.
I could not have gotten us here, but I did know who could. A Help must know, and deeply love, His God, God’s Leaders, and God’s People. It’s not enough to do work, it’s about the spirit behind it.
A Help isn’t called to cast vision, but to be part of the vision that is cast. Don’t misunderstand, that is not a statement of humility, but a description. I’m both proud and thankful for my calling, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
I love my calling, and I would not want to be anything else. I see the purpose in my office, and I’m trying to make sure I fulfill that purpose. That purpose is to help, wherever I can, however I can, whenever I can.
As I said, the office of Helps is a rope. A Rope is in fields as diverse as construction, seafaring, exploration, sports, rock climbing, theatre, and even communications. Ropes have a purpose, but they are not stand alone objects.
Pulleys direct the force of rope to share a load, and multiply the force applied to the end. Ropes connect everything from an astronaut to his station when doing a spacewalk, to tent pegs, and sails to a ship. We can do so much when we are all pulling together towards the cause of God.
A Help though, is more than an office, it has to be a covenant of salt. Seafarer’s nets were “salted in” at the beginning of the fishing season to bring good fortune. This often took the form of a blessing, and sprinkling them with salt.
Salt is spiritually a symbol of loyalty and friendship. A Help must be loyal, and be a good friend. In Bible times, and today, a salt covenant would join people the way a treaty does today. What a Help does can change, Why a Help does what they do must not.
Our Why is to have a relationship with God, those He has given His Vision to, and the people that He has called a Help to serve. Take a look at this X-Ray of a rope. If the Ministry Of Helps is a rope, then the single strands are individuals.
16 One is so near to another that no air can come between them.
17 They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
One rope, each with individual opportunities to Make A Difference. The closer together in purpose, the stronger the rope. Don’t allow any thing to make you fret, or fray you away from the calling God is calling you too.
Love, that, at its core, is the Ministry Of Helps. Love in everything, care about others. Care enough to get your hands dirty. Care enough to cry with those that are crying.
Care enough to look silly if it helps someone. People are kind, and compliment Ashley and I on Children’s Ministry, but it’s not that we’ve done anything great. We have done a few important things.
First, we found out from both Pastor, and Pastor Jason, what the Vision God had given them for Children’s Ministry was, and we embraced it. Second, we embraced both the children, and our fellow team members. We are all truly a team, we work together.
Third, Ashley and I aren’t afraid to look silly. I never knew some great Ministry trainers would be magicians, clowns, and old vaudeville comedians, but they have been.
Fourth, and this is something Pastor taught me, we try to teach on the children’s level, not down to them. Fifth, and this is a major temptation you have to fight against, we try to teach to the Jacob of today, not the Jacob of last year. Lastly, we try to learn new things, so that we’re also different and better teachers than we were last.
How does that pertain to Helps? For two reasons. First, it’s a place we are currently helping. You can’t experience something you’re not doing. Second, you have to be present in what you’re doing, be proactive, not reactive.
2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Make sure you always keep in mind what God is doing. A spirit of unity and humility will cause you to prosper in what God has planned for your life. As I said, God gives The Leader the Vision, for the Church, or the department, or the Small Group, but it’s our job to embrace it, and run with it.
Take the Vision, a Vision Of Mercy making lives new, impacting our communities, our cities, and our world, and reach to your part of the world.
Up to this point I’ve been describing the nature of the office. To give you an idea of what it is. It’s under the auspices of God, under the direction of The Leadership Of The Church, and serving the ship, or the members of the Church.
III. An Umbrella
A Help ministers to God by serving both His Leaders, and His people. I compare it to an umbrella. Those who know me are probably hearing a theme song and a sound effect about now, but let me show you what I mean.
Like the rope, an umbrella is under authority. The person holding the handle is in authority. He or she directs where the umbrella is going to go. The holder decides when to extend or retract it.
The umbrella’s purpose is the same as the ship’s rope, to minimize the effects of the water on the holder. A Help is an extension of what God wants to do through the Church. An instrument designed to work in conjunction with others.
A Leader, whether a Pastor, Director, or Coordinator, any level of Leadership, is the heart, eyes, shoulders, and mouth of the unit, a Help is the arms, fingers, legs, and the feet. I can’t say what door God is going to open next, but I can point you to who does know. I can’t say how your need is going to be met, but I know how to pray for it to be met.
A Help isn’t part of the foundation, but he can help build the wall. A Help is the Eliezer that says Abraham I’ll be your legs to go where you send me to get Isaac a Bride. A Help is the Hushai who says Yes David, I’ll do as you ask. Instead of escaping with you, I’ll go back to Absalom and be a Spymaster for God’s Kingdom.
A Help is the soldier priest Benaiah, asked by David to teach the Cherethites and Pelethites, Philistine soldiers, how to conduct themselves in Israel.
A Help isn’t the Solomon Who was called to build God’sTemple, but he’s the Hiram who follows the instructions, casting the Pillars and the fire pans.
A Help is the servant of the King who petitions for Jeremiah’s rescue, and is commanded to take ropes, and pull him out of the pit. The King directed Ebedmelech to minister to someone who would in turn minister to others.
A Help takes many forms, just like a rope. He does whatever he or she is asked, following the leading, just like the umbrella.
I get excited by this, for these three reasons. First, it was modeled for me, by men like Ott Shelton, Darrell Livingston, Gene Rush, and Hagen Webb. When I first started preaching I had no idea what I was doing.
I would watch Bro Darrell, Pastor’s Uncle, down to how he stood. If you see me holding my hands together when something is happening in Church, it’s because I saw him do it. I also saw him volunteer to mow yards, clean the Church, teach Bible studies, dress up like a clown, and study The Word.
I saw men like the Head Usher, Bro Gene Rush Help in anyway they were asked, never asking for anything in return. I saw men like Bro Hagen Webb’s my other adopted Grandpa, stand faithfully, voicing and living their support of Pastor Crawford, and God’s work.
A Help, is like another Help in The Bible, Doctor Luke. Above all, a Help seeks to do no harm. They seek to minister to the needs of everyone from the Apostle Paul to the survivors of the shipwreck.
Second, I’ve seen what happens when a Help steps out of their calling, and into an agenda. It’s one thing to have dreams, hopes, and desires. It’s quite another to have an agenda.
The difference is one seeks to benefit others, or to be mindful of others as The Scripture says. The other seeks their own benefit, to manipulate a situation for their own advancement. The opposite of helping is hurting, and when a Help steps out of their calling, or works contrary to God’s plan, that’s what can happen. It’s not worth it.
I hurt when I think of the Gehazi’s, who went from serving others, to serving themselves. Folks, bless others, and God will bless you! I’m not the best a,b, or c in a lot of things, but if I had a need today, God would supply it.
I don’t say that arrogantly, but to show you the blessings of abiding in your calling. This office I hold dearly, has blessed me with joy, wisdom, love, and laughter. I didn’t do it to get, but in doing it, I continue to get more than I ever imagined.
I couldn’t have figured out how to design this building, but I can make coffee for the one who can. I can’t stop that little baby from crying when it’s in pain, but I can call on The God who can. I can’t explain how a family is going to get from the end of the money to the end of the month, but I can teach their children about Jesus.
An in the process, I may not be able to give them the two thousand they need, but I can give them the twenty of that two thousand. It’s not about the magnitude of the help, but the motive of the help.
Bro Jon, you don’t know how much what men like Bro Gary Potter and you are doing by being in that parking lot. As a young person when I got to Church, no matter how hard my life was at that moment, I knew I’d see Bro Gene Rush’s smiling face. I knew Bro Darrell would make me laugh. I knew someone cared for me.
Thirdly, the best thing about a Help is, you can be one. Some callings require a specific calling, but we are all called to be a Help to others. I’ll close with this. In Israel, in the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, was a Landmark.
IV. The Stone Of Bohan
6 And the border went up to Beth-hogla, and passed along by the north of Beth-arabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben:
A stone called the stone of Bohan, a son of Rueben, not Judah. Why did this Reubenite get a stone in Judah? Because the Reubenites already had their inheritance on the other side of Jordan. They were only Helping the other tribes get their inheritance.
Commentators believe that Bohan, who’s name literally means Thumb, died fighting for Judah. He died helping others, and those he helped never forgot him. The rule of thumb for someone in the Ministry Of Helps is this.
- Make yourself pliable in the hands of those God has placed you in.
- Seek to Help them, and The Kingdom, in anyway you can, they’re your family.
- Do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal, caring not for yourselves, but the needs of others.
Do this, and you will be part of the great calling that is The Ministry Of Helps. Maybe you’re here, and you want to do something for God, but like me, you can’t do a, b, or c, it’s ok. I can’t sing, but I can worship while others too. I can tell them how much they blessed me.
I can listen to the brother or sister who’s had a hard week. I don’t have to offer advice, just my concern for their welfare. I can’t play the piano, but I can help clean up in Brewpoint.
God isn’t asking you to do what you can’t, He will do that. He’s asking for those who are willing, to do what they can, to be a Help for others.