Support, Compassion in Action
While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.Exodus 17:8-13 NLT
Aaron and Hur support Moses
I love this picture of Aaron and Hur supporting Moses. Notice that they must have been observant – they could see that when Moses held up the staff, the Israelites had the advantage. But when Moses grew weary, the opposing side gained the advantage. Aaron and Hur were not only observant, they were willing servants, making themselves available to Moses when he was tired. They didn’t make random suggestions but took matters into their own hands, literally holding Moses’ arms up for him. That meant they had to get pretty close – in his personal space. And they stayed for the whole battle.
This is a picture of how the body of Christ supports one another. We get up close and personal in one another’s lives – not to be nosy or bossy – but to be available to help!
The Corinthian church supports the Jerusalem church
Here’s another picture from the New Testament: the Apostle Paul encourages the Corinthian church to contribute to the financial need at the Jerusalem church. He uses the Macedonian church as an example, as well as the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for us all to encourage generosity. Notice how the authors of the Expanded Bible emphasize that giving is not about depleting resources from one party to support another but about redistributing the resources that God has provided so that no need goes unmet.
If you want [are eager/willing] to give, your gift will be accepted.2 Corinthians 8:12-14, 24 EXB
It will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have. [For] We do not want you to have troubles [hardships; trials] while other people are at ease [have relief], but we want everything to be equal [giving is not intended to impoverish the giver, but to distribute God’s resources]. At this time you have plenty and what you have [your abundance] can help others who are in need. Then later, when they have plenty, they [or In the same way, their abundance] can help you when you are in need, and all will be equal —
[Paul may be saying, (1) that the Jerusalem church may one day reciprocate by helping the Corinthians financially; or, (2) that the Corinthians’ financial gift will be reciprocated through Jerusalem’s spiritual gifts]. …So show these men the proof of your love and the reason we ·are proud [boast] of you. Then [or …so that] all the churches can see it.
How to support your brothers and sisters
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Ephesians 4:2-3 NLT
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
1 Peter 3:8 NLT
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. As members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Colossians 3:13-15 NLT
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
- Practice humility and gentleness
- Be patient with your brothers and sisters
- Sympathize with one another; show that you care
- Encourage one another, building each other up
- Be quick to forgive
- Make every effort to maintain unity
- Be peacemakers
- Support one another in practical acts of kindness
And, of course, pray. Pray for one another often, in private, corporately, and small groups.
An Addendum … from the podcast, “Everything Happens” with Kate Bowler. She interviews Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. So good! In the end, Kate offers this blessing – her words, not mine –
“A blessing for you. God, what if. What if I walk out on this ledge and feel only the taste of my fear? What if I discover that what I carry cannot be shouldered? What if I live too long without that feeling? That I can set this, this, this down. God, fill me with a love that staves off all the darkness. Comfort me when I can’t think another reasonable thought. And if I can’t, I mean, I just can’t feel your nearness, hear you telling me that I loved, send your armies of do gooders, tuck my name inside their hearts. Give me people who love to hold more than this day can manage. And if you can’t send more than one because more than one would be nice, just send the nearest person to take things out of my hands and into theirs until I know again today that I should never be expected to walk this road alone.”
Let’s be the one God sends to support another …
the one who can hold more than this day can manage.