How do you respond when someone asks you how you are? I think most of us give the automated answer of, “Fine. How are you?” We answer that way whether we are fine or not and whether we are interested in the other person’s wellbeing or not.
The problem is we are often dishonest when we respond this way. We justify our answer by saying that we don’t want to inconvenience the person listening to us by spilling out all our problems on them. We feel embarrassed by what we have to share. We may not trust the person to whom we are responding. We believe that to give and to serve others is better than to be served by someone, just like we are told in Acts 20:35, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (NKJV)” In the end, our refusal to share what is really happening is driven by fear and pride. Neither of which honours God nor others.
It is unfortunate that we have come to this point, especially as followers of Jesus Christ. In Romans 12:5 we are told, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (NKJV)”. In Galatians 6:10 Paul gives this command, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (NKJV)”
How can we rejoice or weep with others if we do not know what is going on in their lives? How can we do good to others if we don’t know what they need?
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)
Let’s work through this:
We are to be honest with one another. Of course, we need to be careful not to spill out everything to just anyone. May I suggest that if you aren’t doing well, and someone you really don’t know or fully trust asks you how you are, let them know that, “things could be better,” or, “I’m working through some stuff, your prayers are appreciated.”
With someone you do know and trust, be open. Why? You are giving them the opportunity to serve God by serving you. Seriously! You are giving someone the chance to weep with you, rejoice with you, provide for your needs according to the measure of faith and resources given to them by God, exercise their spiritual gifts and stir up and exhort you to love and good works.
This is another very important reason to gather together as Christians, both inside and outside the church building. Even if you have to do it over the phone or Zoom.
God works in our lives through other people. Let God work! This, in turn, will encourage you and help you. On top of that, the person who is serving you will grow in their faith and spiritual maturity. Then, you will be restored to a place where you can serve others.
In the end, God gets glory and we get His blessing.
Give someone the chance to serve you.