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Thank you for letting me help you
by Leigh Cravin
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"Thank you for letting me help you"

When we moved into our new home there was an old basketball goal in the back yard. This was not one of those new-fangled type goals that you can fold up and push out of the way. This basketball goal was a dinosaur that had an old beat-up, weatherworn, wooden backboard and a missing basket. What was still left of the basket supports was an assortment of metal bars mounted with tractor-sized bolts. The pole itself was heavy gauge steel of some type, about 6-inches in diameter, and anchored in the ground with everlasting cement. As soon as we moved in we knew that this unsightly thing had to go, but we soon discovered that it could not be easily moved when we tried to dig up the posts supporting a chain link fence. In fact, after we dug and dug thinking that we could pull out the posts by hand, we realized that we needed mechanized power. While we were digging, our neighbor drove pass and stopped to see what we were doing. First of all he congratulated us on how much work we had already done to improve the back yard. When we told him that we wanted to move the fence he told us that he was a welder for the state highway department and that he had the equipment to “yank” those cement anchored poles up in nothing flat. A week later our wonderful neighbor backed his truck up to each pole, connected them to some type of pulley, and in no time yanked up all six poles and even chipped away the big round mound of anchoring cement. We offered to pay him but he said that he was glad to help and to let us know if he could help up again. About a week later I finally got the nerve to ask him if he could cut off the basketball goal so that we could remove that final neighborhood eyesore. We told him that we wanted to keep about 5 feet of the pole so we could make a birdbath and bird feeder. As soon as spring came we got busy once again working on the backyard so I asked the neighbor if he would cut the pole. Graciously he backed his truck up to the pole, took out a circular power saw, turned on his generator and loped off the top half. He then removed the tractor-bolts and continued removing bolts when I told him that we could remove the last of the bolts. I thanked him over and over for helping us to cut the pole and offered to pay for his services. In response to my gratitude this is what my neighbor said, “thank you for letting me help you.” I knew that our neighbor was a Christian because one day as we stood talking across the fence he told me that he and his wife were about to be late for services. I am also a Christian. “Thank you for letting me help you.” What a profound statement. I had never before heard anyone who lent their time, talent or service to help another person make such a remark. For hours I thought about my neighbor’s remark and it finally hit me that this was the true meaning of living a Christian life. This was “Jesus in action,” Jesus, who stand ever ready to help, Jesus who stands at the door knocking saying, “ please allow me to enter your life, I will be delighted to help.” As a Christian, this statement “thank you for letting me help” is an earthly commandment for us to help one another and to be kind to one another. The ability to help another person in need is a gift from God. It is the opportunity for the existence of the “living God” to be demonstrated right here on earth. Being ready, willing, and able to help others is also an ever-present opportunity for each of us to show our gratitude to Christ for the “free gift” of Himself to us. Just like Christ, it is the unselfish giving of one’s self. Helping others helps us to remain humble and grateful for God continuing presence. “Thank you for letting me help you” should become every person’s personal motto for a God-directed and a service-filled life. How many times lately have you been able to say, to your spouse, to your children, to your co-workers, to a friend, to a stranger in need, “thank you for letting me help you?”

© Leigh Cravin, April 2005. All rights reserved


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