May 18, 2013
(Jesus said) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
The fact that a late spring has delayed planting in much of the Midwest has triggered the memory of a story I heard long ago.
It begins with a farmer who had just begun the process of turning over the soil for planting. The spring thaw had occurred, and the low spots in his northern field were still quite soggy. It was in one particularly wet place that his tractor got bogged down in the mud. When he tried to get out, his spinning wheels only threw up mud and dug a deeper hole.
In desperation he walked over to his neighbor and asked for help.
Dutifully the good neighbor walked back with the stuck farmer and surveyed the situation. After a bit, the helper said, "My friend, I have to tell you, this doesn't look good. But I tell you what I'll do. I'll get my tractor and give it a try pulling you out. But if we don't dig you out, I'll come sit in the mud with you."
Now regular readers of the Daily Devotion may think I am going to try to apply this story to Jesus and how He saved us. Well, if that's what you're thinking, you're wrong. I'm not going to do that because the story doesn't fit.
First, it doesn't fit because dead and stuck-in-sin humanity was incapable of going to God for help. Second, it doesn't fit because the Savior never looked at us and said, "I may not be able to help you." Jesus entered this world knowing what He had to do if we were to be saved. Jesus knew if He followed the Father's wishes, He would end up living for us, suffering, and dying for us, and then, on the third day, rising for us. Because He did do as the Father asked, His sacrifice was accepted and all who believe on Him as their Redeemer are saved.
No, the story doesn't work when it's applied to Jesus, but it does work when it is applied to us.
Sooner or later all of us, even the saved souls reading this devotion, may find themselves stuck in the muddy holes of life. We have pains and problems, trials and temptations, difficulties, discouragements and crosses. Naturally, we go first to the Lord with our problems, and we are assured He will provide us the assistance we need to get through or carry those tribulations.
Sometimes that assistance comes in the form of other people, especially other Christians.
When we are part of the family of faith, we are offered the opportunity of going to others who will help us, or just sit with us. Similarly, as God's children, we have the ability to help or sit with others when they encounter difficulties.
That is the way a congregation, a church, Christian friends are supposed to act. When things don't look good, we try to help, even if that help is just sitting beside those who are hurting.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for sending Your Son to save me from sin, the devil and death, I shall always be grateful. Now may I -- sharing the love I have received from Jesus -- be of service to others who are hurting. This I ask in the Name of the Savior. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries