Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christopher, pick up your own weight, please!

Christopher, can I offer just a few quick thoughts for the future this morning?  Some of the activities of the day have made me wonder about the condition of our culture and what to do about it.

Running out of gas.
Running on my way to the gym early this morning, while the dew was still heavy on grass and the sun had yet
risen, I found a couple in their forties walking with a gas can in hand.  Even though they assured me they could make it on their own, I ran straight back home to get them minivan.  After purchasing their gas and morning caffeine, I enjoyed getting to know Kevin and Stacey while taxiing them back to their vehicle.

I share this story simply to set the context of their reaction.  They both repeatedly emphasized that my helping behavior was very abnormal and strange.  They used words like weird and crazy in describing it, and then profusely thanked and proclaimed rewards in heaven on my behalf.

Why did it seem so strange to spend a few minutes and $20 to help a forty year old couple?  Surely in their collective 80+ years they've had others help and had helped others in such a way.  Could it be that they really haven't received this type of service from neighbors in the community, that it would seem weird and crazy for me to do this?  Could it be that they really hadn't ever offered this type of service to neighbors themselves?

I guess I just grew up different.  My dad was always helping people with the skills and money he had, and others in turn were always helping him.  It's just part of being a good neighbor.  It's part of normal Christian life in my mind, especially in light of the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12.

Could it be that it really isn't that normal anymore in American culture?  If it's not part of normal culture in a good, small town, community oriented atmosphere like Washington, IN, where in America is it a part of normal culture?  I wouldn't even consider this a sacrifice.  It only cost me $20 and I was only late for my morning workout by 20 minutes.  Why is this so strange?

Pick up your own weights.  
When I arrived at the gym for my workout, the floor was especially littered with weights.  Dumbbells and plates were laying all over.

It took me little time to clean up other's messes and to clean up my own after finishing my lifts.  It wasn't much work, and after all, I am there to lift weights.  Why not lift them from the floor to the rack?

 Noah, my workout partner, has ingrained in me the rule, that we always pick up the weights we use.  ALWAYS.  We don't leave our mess for someone else to have to walk around and clean up.

Putting it together.  
The weight room may be shedding some light on why helping others seems so abnormal.  Perhaps the reality is that I do live in a culture where helping strangers is truly rare.  Perhaps people don't help others because most can't handle their own burdens (weights) and let alone shoulder the weights of others.

Where to go from here.
Christopher, my advice to you in the future, is to work hard in Christ to have your own weights picked up, cleaned up, and your burdens taken care of.  Then, you'll easily be able to shoulder the burdens of others.   Also, teach others the disciplined life of a Christian, so that they will use God's principles to clean up their burdens, and will also help in the burdens of others.  Share these principles with your church, your family, and your neighbors so that taking care of someone's gas and coffee isn't rare in your community, but rather the norm.

Please, pick up your own weights, so you can help others pick up theirs.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:12