One day recently I stopped it a new Wendy’s for lunch, a bowl of chili, some fries and a drink. As part of my order, they gave me several packets of crackers for the chili. When I went to open one of the packets, a small piece of the cellophane wrapping got stuck to my finger.
I shook my finger, then shook it again, then shook up some more trying to get the cellophane to let go of my finger and take up residence on the corner of my tray with the other wrappers. But this particular bit of cellophane wasn’t having any of it, and remained firmly stuck to my finger.
A small static charge had it stuck to me like glue — worse yet, it was stuck to me like a bad habit. I finally had to put down the crackers I was holding in my other hand, and use both hands — and the spoon — to get rid of this little bit of cellophane wrapper.
Eventually, I succeeded, and then crumbled the crackers into the chili and began eating — and thinking. We (since an early age) have come to value being able to do things for ourselves. For the most part, that works out well for us. However, there are times when we need help.
These are times that can include when the car breaks down, the A/C system stops blowing cold air in the middle of August or we get sick.
Even in these circumstances, and many others, calling professional help isn’t our first choice. We will usually at least take a look at it, or try and fix it. We run to the drugstore for some home remedy, or the Home Depot for some duct tape or superglue.
About a year ago the check engine light came on in my car. I took it to the parts store down the block, and they read the code, then told me what bit needed to be replaced. The turns out it was a small part, right up on top and in plain sight, theoretically easy to get to and change — a bit harder in practice, but I eventually managed it. However, a couple years ago when the transmission went out, I didn’t try and fix that myself but rather went to somebody that knew how.
Being independent and wanting to do things for ourselves is a good thing, but it is even better when blended with the wisdom to know when to ask for help. Then, of course, the final step is actually accepting the needed help.
Luke 18:18-30 tells the story of a young man who came to Jesus seeking advice, asking, “What more must I do to gain eternal salvation?” In many ways, this young man represents all of us. Far too often, we stand before the Lord asking for relief from the difficulties of life. Asking for strength to overcome the latest obstacle blocking our part. Instead of asking what more we need to do, we should seek every opportunity to praise the Lord, and gratefully accept God’s gift of salvation, accepting that there are things we can’t do — but that God already has already done for us.
John R. Fowler is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.