Ask for Help

Last week a friend of mine was moving and was getting ready to have a garage sale and was going to sell his ping pong table.  I thought it would make a great addition to my house and I bought it from him.  He graciously helped me load it in my truck.  He even offered to help me unload it at my house.  I refused his offer of help since he was moving and had a lot left to accomplish.

iStock_000019335977SmallThat evening I decided it was time to unload the ping pong table.  I asked my son to help me.  But as children are sometimes, he was not much help at all.  So I dismissed him figuring I could do it myself, especially since it had wheels.  I just needed to get it out of the truck.  It was dark.  I began moving the ping pong table and it creaked and shrieked and ripped and tumbled.  I did get it in the garage.  And, I did spend the next day putting it back together again and we are now playing ping pong though I instruct the kids not to lean on it too much!

Reflecting on this episode, I now understand how much it easier it would have been to just ask for help– from my friend, from someone else.  But I am a rugged individualist and sometimes asking for help demonstrates weakness and I do not want to put anybody out and I can just do it myself.  As it turns out that silly decision resulted in part of the next day being taken up correcting my foolishness in not asking for help.

In the church, in business, in the world many of us have difficulty asking for help.  We don’t want to put others out, we don’t want to appear weak, we can do it better ourselves.  While some of this may be related to the art of delegation I think the issue is more one of pride.  The most effective leaders know when they need to ask for help and are confident in themselves to go ahead and ask.  That ping pong table last week taught me an important lesson- ask for help.

Why do you think it is so hard for people to ask for help?

Prayer and Fasting for Lent

As we enter the Lenten season I am reminded that Lent is a wonderful time for the church to teach about prayer and fasting.  While Bishop Young Jin Cho has helped the Virginia Annual Conference refocus on prayer, there has been less focus in recent memory around the issue of fasting.  All of us could learn from the spiritual discipline of fasting.  I know I certainly can.

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Here is a resource I developed for congregational use as a teaching tool while I was at Regester Chapel that touches on prayer and fasting Lenten disciplines.  The people called Methodists, as well as many other Christians have a long history of prayer and fasting as means of grace and they were often cited by and prescribed by Mr. Wesley.  Today, in our culture of indulgence and impatience what a wonderful way to realign our focus and observe a holy Lent.

Here is the link to the resource which will open as a pdf file.  If you would like it in a Word document just use the Contact page to get in touch with me and I will be happy to give it to you in Word format.  Perhaps you might find some use for it.  May you have a holy Lent!