“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Computer programmer. Web-designer. Tech supporter.
Who comes to mind when you read these words?
A deacon at the 151st Street Church of Christ calls me. He’s a tech supporter by trade. He calls to tell me a widow needs some tech support.
When this deacon’s sons were still at home, he’d send them to widows with tech support issues. He rightly sees this 'issue' as an opportunity to make an inter-generational connect.
So, the deacon asks me which of our teenagers can help. Do we have any aspiring computer programmers? Web-designers? Tech supporters? Most of the names that come to mind are men and they are adults. But one teen comes to mind. She’s a college student studying programming and is home for the summer.
After Bible study one night, I ask this student if she will give this widow a hand. Her first and honest response is, in effect: “No. I’m more of a software expert and this sounds like a hardware problem.” I’m no tech guy, so this excuse sounds legit to me. Thirty-minutes later, however, she texts me back. She will give it a try and at worst she'll call her dad in to help.
Without the courage to say yes, to potentially try and fail, to go and meet a stranger, what happens next never happens.
She meets the widow. She fixes the hardware or software or whatever problem in five minutes. And she stays to talk. They go out to eat. Two women separated by age and experience. One woman has lost a husband and the other is still waiting on hers. They spend hours together. They eat, they talk, the swap companionship & tech-support for wisdom & insight.
Christ, through His half-brother James, says to look after widows in their distress (James 1:27). Obedience to simple commands like this takes courage. Obedience also blesses us in return.
Paul, through the Holy Spirit, says: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Bearing burdens takes courage but God also uses these moments to grant us wisdom.
It's important to take a moment and recognize this as the church as it is in its better moments. This is the future of the church becoming a functioning member of the church in real time. It is also a reminder of where real wisdom comes from.
Where do we get wisdom? We don’t go to a University or College or Seminary to receive wisdom. At best, they impart knowledge; at worst, they undue godly wisdom. My prayer for our young people is that while at a University, or at home, or at church, or at work, they meet real conduits of wisdom. I attended the University of Wyoming and later Lubbock Christian University between the years of 2003-2010. I eventually received the degrees they conferred. But I received wisdom from the friends, family and mentors who I spent time with along the way. God imparts wisdom through godly individuals & the relationships we develop with them.
(I love to read. Perhaps I should post some about books I've read or am in the process of reading. I do believe we can glean wisdom through reading. After all, God's Word to man is in book form. Nevertheless, behind every book is a person and a mind. We are, in a way, having a conversation every time we read. I've also found, however, I can't believe everything I read. I rely on godly people in my life to help me sift through what I read.)
The heroine of this story will one day graduate college. She is well on her way to receiving wisdom because of her courage to be in a position to receive wisdom from others. This story also reminds me of the odd, winding and interconnected ways we can find to put our knowledge and skills into action to serve Christ by caring for others. She was blessed with wisdom while delivering a blessing to the widow, the deacon and to me. After all, didn't God bless Abraham with wealth, influence and a family so that Abraham could bless others?
May we have the courage to be that blessing and receive that blessing as well.
[End-note: There is an underrated song by Acapella titled "Everybody Said (But Nobody Did)". You can listen to it here. This story about a tech-savvy student, in my opinion, is the sort of action this song is challenging us to take. We all know we should act on our selfless intentions & I'm challenged to do the same by the actions of this selfless student.]