3 (Marks): Journeying with Others: In the Beginning We all Need a “Helper”

traces-old-shoes-on-the-path-1425216On Sunday we looked journeying with others again. This is a key mark of a follower of Jesus, that they don’t follow him alone. Because we all need others, we need support, direction, and love. Life is meant to be lived together.

And this is actually what we discover way back in the very beginning. God shows up to Adam and says, “It’s not good for man to be alone”. And here I don’t think he is just talking about Adam specifically but humanity in general. That we were not created to live and journey in this world alone.

What is quite amazing is that pre-sin Adam still needed someone. That it’s not sin and challenges that causes us to need to journey together, but something in our very makeup. That it is simply put not good for humanity to journey alone. We all need others. We need a “helper” or “companion”.

Now this word in English gets read through patriarchal lens and it makes it seem like what Adam needs is a domestic wife to support him. That he needs a little helper at home. And this is not only demeaning to women but to God too, because that is not what God is saying.

God is actually saying it is not good for Adam to be alone, he needs a helper. He needs someone to save him, to protect him, to sustain him, to shield him, or to journey with him. The word “ezer” (helper) is most often used in the Psalms to refer to God’s activity of saving, sustaining, protecting, rescuing, or giving hope. So a “helper” is not a nice little addition to your life, but an active presence that guarantees your future through saving, sustaining, protecting and rescuing.

God is saying I believe that we all need those people in our lives. We all need companions who help us to journey into life, because life isn’t meant to be lived alone. This was the main point on Sunday, that life is meant to be shared with others. So I ended with a very specific challenge, to journey with two other people closely for the rest of this year. I truly believe that it isn’t good to live alone, so I challenged all of us to journey with others closely for this whole year. Two people at minimum (and your spouse doesn’t count) because we all need companions to rescue, protect, help, save, and give us hope.

For some of us we are doing this, and just need to keep doing this. For others we have friendships that can become deep and committed but we need to invest in them. And for others we don’t know where to start with relationships, but we are called to pray for them. Because God still wants to make sure all of us don’t live alone but with life-giving relationships.

So whether that means investing in your good relationships, investing in your potential relationship to become good ones, or investing in prayer for God to help you create some. We are all called to invest in relationships to live with and for one another. Because God is right, “It is not good to live alone”, we are called to live together.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Life was meant to be shared with others, and we need to journey together

Teaching Points:

  • It is easier to be selfish and self-interested in our world, but it not better
  • That we need to be journeying with others, if we want to journey with Jesus
  • Life is not complete without someone to share it with
  • “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul”. Simone Weil
  • Commit to journeying closely with 2 other people this year

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What relationships have impacted you most? Which relationships do you have now that are closest? Who have been your “ezers” or helper and companions in life? Are there people in your life who are this to you now? Are there people in your life who you are like this for them? Can you commit to journeying with at least two people for this year?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Journeying together isn’t just for adults but for kids and families as well. Studies show us that kids need 5 adults caring and pouring into their lives to truly thrive. So spend sometime thinking about the adults who can pour into your family, and what family you can pour into. Who are you journeying with as a family? And go spend time with them this week.

Challenge for the Week: Commit to journeying closely with 2 other people this year

The Gift of Limits

1395612_80122675Today I want to explore a little bit about what God gives in Genesis 1 and 2 to Adam and Eve. The first few chapters of Genesis are crucial for theology as we see the foundation for humanity, without the mark of sin. And what is interesting is that God gives Adam and Eve two things: responsibility and limitations. And let me say this, both are gifts.

God gives Adam and Eve responsibility, to be “fruitful and multiply” and steward the earth (Genesis 1:28). We are familiar with this part of the story; that they are given responsibilities and a task. And we understand this for our own lives. That God gives us gifts, abilities, and responsibilities that go along with those gifts. We are called to steward not only the earth, but our responsibilities well – and to increase the flourishing of life around us.

Yet God also does something very interesting. He sets limits. He gives Adam and Eve the garden to tend to, but sets very precise limits about its location and its boundaries (Genesis 2:10). And I think this is really something that we miss. God gives limits because limits are a blessing. We cannot be responsible for everything. We cannot do everything we want to. Responsibility reminds us of our calling to others, and limits reminds us of our need for others.

We cannot accomplish the calling of God upon our lives without both of these things, limits and boundaries, in equal play in our lives. If we live without limits we burn ourselves out, tend to use people, and forget we need others. If we live without responsibility we become a burden to others, self-centered, and destructive. We need to use our responsibility, but acknowledge our limits. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I can’t do more”. God gave limits to Adam and Eve in the garden before there was sin. Limits then are not a result of the fall, but a gift of God to remind us we need each other. I can’t do it all, and neither can you. We need one another.

So I think this is worth thinking about. To reflect on what responsibilities has God given you? And what limitations has he also given you? Who can you lean on when you come to your limits, and how might they help you to see a greater flourishing of life around you?

The point is this, limits aren’t a bad thing, they may be one of the biggest blessings God has given us if we would but acknowledge them.

Where I Saw Jesus This Week…

I’m not great with grammar. I write to quickly, and I write like I talk. With odd sentences, spaces, and pauses.

But there is one person in my office who helps me with this. She has a great red pen that she uses to mark up all that I write and create. She makes sure my ideas come out clearly.

This post is about her, because this week I saw Jesus in her. Genesis 2 says that we are made in God’s image which means we each have the potential to reveal God to others. This week she did that for me. She was so caring noticing and coming up with ways to care for people. She was very giving of her time. And even though we are both kind of quite, she often makes me laugh and smile. This reminds me of Jesus, and it should.

Jesus notices people. Jesus cares for people. Jesus gives, and often being with Jesus leaves us smiling and laughing.

So my friend and co-worker reflects Jesus to me in a natural and easy way. What about you?

Who in your life consistenly reminds you of Jesus? Who helps you to see and find Jesus? Think of someone and then let them know. Let them know that you see God in them. So Florence this post is for you!

But who in your life reminds you of Jesus?

Share with us here, but more importantly share that with them…today…

P.S. Please also excuse all grammar and spelling mistakes. I had to do this post on my own as a little surprise!