June 14, 2017
Called Alongside to Help
June 14, 2017
This week’s sermon text: James 5:7-12
In today’s reading, there’s an interesting word in verse 26. The New Revised Standard Version translates it as “advocate,” but the Greek word is paracletos, which is literally translated “one called alongside to help.”
There have been many times when I have had to ask for help, but one time I remember vividly was after the birth of our first child. I had an unexpected C-section and was weak after the surgery. It was hard to take care of myself, much less a newborn. After my husband returned to work, my mother and mother-in-law took turns looking after me and our son. We literally “called them alongside to help” and their loving assistance enabled me to heal quickly and be able to care for our baby.
In the hours right before his crucifixion and death, Jesus prepared his disciples for life without him. He told them that after he was gone his heavenly Father will send someone to be with them constantly and intimately – the “paracletos” – the one called alongside to help.
What a gift! God knew the first disciples (and we!) would need help to live victoriously in this world. Like a new mother needing help to care for her newborn, we need someone to assist us with us what we can’t do alone. And God has provided this daily, moment-by-moment help in the form of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
Questions for the Field
- Can you think of a time in your life when you needed help with a task you couldn’t do alone? Who was there for you? How did their presence make you feel?
- Are you aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? What could you do to be more sensitive to the Spirit’s teaching and guidance?
Family Field Talk
- With a grownup nearby, try picking up something really heavy by yourself – maybe a chair or a sofa. Can you move it by yourself? Now ask someone bigger and stronger to help you. Can you move it now? That’s what God’s help is like. He can help us with problems that are too big for us to handle on our own.
- Is there a problem in your life you’d like God to help you with? You can ask for God’s help any time.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the sending the paracletos to help us as we journey through life. Help us to listen for the Spirit’s teaching and guidance movement by movement. Amen.