But first, I should let you know that I hate doing yard work. I put it off as long as I can and hope the neighbors don’t storm my house with torches and pitch forks. I should also let you know that I’m much older than I used to be and more out of shape than I’ve ever been. Anyway, back to the story…
I had been working in the yard for 3-4 hours and was no where near being done. As I was standing there among piles of leaves trying to catch my breath and ease my muscles, two young guys drove by in a jeep. I straightened up, smiled, and waved like I was having a good time. But I must have broadcast my weariness more than I realized. A few minutes later, one of the young men who had been in that passing jeep pulled up, got out, and asked, “Can I help?”
To be honest with you, it caught me off guard and I didn’t know what to say. Then my pride kicked in. (You see, I’m not very good at asking for or receiving help.) I smiled and said, “That’s so nice of you to offer, but I’ve got it.” Still, the young man would not be deterred. He told me he would be glad to help. I told him I didn’t want to take up his time on such a nice afternoon. He persisted. He told me he had just been at home reading, that he loved to work outside, and that he would really like to help me.
At that point his insistence, my fatigue, and the soon-approaching darkness overruled my pride and I sheepishly said, “Well I could use some help picking up the piles I’ve already raked up.” He seemed grateful that I consented. He quickly went home and came back with a pickup, a wheelbarrow, and a rake.
In a very short amount of time the yard was all cleaned up. His joyful attitude and energy breathed new life into me and my fatigue. When we finished, I thanked him profusely and tried to pay him. He refused, telling me to take whatever I would have paid him and put it in the offering plate at church.
Then, before he left, he asked if he could pray for me. I was humbled and blessed as this young man put his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me. As he left, I found myself tearfully thankful for this young man and the parents who raised him. Even as I write this, I’m still emotionally moved by the kind generosity of one young man who simply asked, ” Can I help?”
I vowed to learn a lesson from this young man. I’m trying to be better at seeing opportunities to stop and ask, “Can I help?” In fact, today I was able to spot just such an opportunity and to practice what he taught me.
“Can I help?” It’s amazing what an impact these 3 simple words can have. They can lift the spirits of those who are overwhelmed and breathe new life into those who are fatigued. We all have people in our lives that could be lifted up by those 3 simple words, and we need to be more quick and easy at stopping and asking, “Can I help?”
A young man with a rake taught me this.
But let’s take this to another level…
In Scripture, God often reserves His highest praise for those who help in the smallest of ways.
At one point in the Scripture, the King of Heaven broadly welcomes people to inherit His kingdom, calling these people “blessed by my Father.” What did these people do to deserve such a fanfare? They fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty. They welcomed strangers. They visited the sick and those in prison. They gave clothes to those in need. (Matt. 25:31-46.) In other words, they asked “Can I help?” and followed through.
It’s not rocket science. Just 3 simple words.
So I challenge you, as this young man challenged me. Keep your eye’s open, and when you see the opportunity…stop and ask, “Can I help?”
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg