DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: The Lord helps through us

"The Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want" – especially when we serve one another.

Rev. Roger Grafenstein
Contributed / Roger Grafenstein
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During a recent Bible-study, we were reminded of a time Jay Leno was out asking people to share a saying from the Bible that they remembered. The most common Bible verse they remembered isn’t in the Bible: “God helps those who help themselves.”

After the Bible study, I found myself in the office looking at the upcoming Sunday’s Scriptures – one of them extremely recognizable: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters, restores my life.”

Continue to read all of Psalm 23, and every verse shows God caring for the things we cannot do for ourselves. God leads us, comforts us in shadows, prepares a table, protects us, anoints us, pours out abundant goodness and mercy and grants us a forever home.

As rural Minnesota native, I grew up in a “do it ourselves culture.” Replacing timing belts, overhauling motorcycle motors, finishing a basement, backfilling the foundation around a new church building, sheet-rocking a garage.

Many of us pride ourselves in doing things for ourselves, or trying to, and learning new skills. Sometimes we realize we should have asked for help.


Recently, we had the stained linoleum replaced in our home’s entry with prefinished hardwood. I might have chosen to do it myself. Instead, we had a professional do it. Now the entry is beautiful enough to call it a foyer. Just tearing up the old flooring would have taken me longer than the professional, and had my back whining afterward. I am grateful I didn’t do it myself.

There are things in life we simply can’t do for ourselves. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s how important hugs and cards, kind-eyes and compassionate-words are when we lose a loved one. These things remind us we are at our best when we listen for God’s nudge to show our care to others, especially in the greatest times of need.

Over three decades of pastoring I’ve observed those who receive care and compassion in their trying times find resilience and strength in God, through the kindness of others.

Try to recall a time in your life when you faced a challenge and God helped you through the strength of another who came alongside you. Give thanks for that person. Send a note or call them and tell them how much their care meant. They may need to hear that word today.

Then, pause to pray. Ask God to show you someone who might be alone facing a struggle. Go, make the connection. Offer the hug. Ask if you can keep that person in your prayers. Make time to listen or help with a project.

“The Lord is our shepherd we shall not want.” Still, we are at our best when we are sheep (children of God) who help each other along the way.

Rev. Roger Grafenstein serves as pastor at Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids.

Rev. Roger Grafenstein serves as pastor of Riverside United Methodist Church.
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