Letter: Get the message right
I have not been following the controversy reflected in the letter to the editor, “Neighbor to neighbor.” Hence, I cannot speak to that issue.
However, I would like to speak to the two alleged quotations from Scripture, “Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry,” and “God helps those who help themselves.”
The first is a worthy piece of wisdom, but it is nowhere found in the Bible. I would appreciate knowing the origin of it.
Neither is “God helps those who help themselves” found in the Bible, and is, in fact, contrary to both the spirit and letter of the Bible. The spirit of the Biblical revelation of God’s love and kindness to us is most succinctly expressed in the hymn by Francis Lyte, “Abide with Me.” It reads in part:
“When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the Helpless, O abide with me.”
One of countless scriptural passages to support this understanding of the heart of God is Matthew 9:36: “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Later in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus again opens his heart to those who came out to him, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)
Let’s get the message right. Yes, God does help those who work and struggle to help themselves, their families and others, but God’s love is so vast and compassionate, he is well named “Help of the Helpless.” The message of Christmas is simply this: May he who is the Help of the Helpless, abide with each of us.
PASTOR KENNETH E. JOHNSON