No, “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves” Is Not in the Bible

When I was in high school, my wrestling coach, knowing I was a Christian, would try to motivate me to practice harder by saying (yelling):

“Bobby, you know that ‘God helps those who help themselves.’”

I wanted to correct him, but this was back in the 1970s when coaches could and would be pretty brutal and harsh. But after about the 3rd or 4th time, I said:

“You know, Coach, that’s not in the Bible.”

He was shocked. He said, “Show me!”

I said, “I can’t show you, because it’s not in there. But I can show you that the Bible teaches the opposite—‘God helps those who admit they are helpless…’”

Apparently, my coach was not alone. According to a 1998 Barna research poll, 82% of the general population believes “God helps those who help themselves” is in the Bible. But take heart, Christians know better. According to the same poll, only 81% of Christians surveyed believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is in the Bible. So…Christians are 1% wiser about that issue than non-Christians!

God Is the Helper of the Helpless 

Here are just a few passages I could have shown my Coach… 

And What About Human Help?: Helping One Another; Asking for Help; Receiving Help… 

Why do I bring all of this up?

As most all of you know, On June 4, 2021, my dear wife, Shirley, had a stroke. After two months in the hospital, Shirley has been recovering and rehabbing at home for the past five months.

Many friends have urged us, exhorted us, and encouraged us to be sure to “ask for help.” 

That help can take many forms: accepting meals, receiving encouragement, meeting with biblical counselors, allowing others to care for needs around our home, having others provide some daily care-giving help, etc.

We have sought to be open to these offers of help. And we have been blessed by so many who have provided practical help in so many ways.

And What About Asking for and Accepting Financial Help from Others? 

More recently, as uncovered medical bills have accumulated, friends have encouraged us to ask for and receive financial help from others. Honestly, we have been reluctant. Or, even more honestly, I have been reluctant.

Shirley has been like, “It would bless people to be able to have a practical way to minister to us…”

I have been like, “I’m too proud to ask for financial help.”

So, I did what any biblical counselor would do. I went to the Bible seeking to see what God’s Word says about providing for one’s financial needs. This is a blog post, not a book, so I’ll try to be succinct.

I believe there are two overarching, governing principles. And I believe they relate somewhat to the issue of:

God Does Encourage Families to Work to Meet Their Needs When Possible 

We currently have a $35,000.00 need in terms of uncovered medical bills. On the basis of several passages and principles, I have wanted us to seek to cover the bulk of those expenses on our own.

Here are some of those passages about families meeting their own needs when possible.

God Does Encourage the Family of God to Help with One Another’s Financial Needs 

Seeking to work hard to meet one’s own needs is part of the human equation. But the Bible also talks a great deal about the larger family of God helping one another—in every way, including with financial needs. Just a few examples…

Support Shirley’s Stroke Recovery

Because of passages like these, and many more, and because many friends have encouraged us to be humble enough to ask for help, we have accepted the launch of a GoFundMe account to cover about 40% of the uncovered medical bills of Shirley’s stroke recovery.

Here’s the link: https://gofund.me/62b2f04d

And here’s the wording from Teresa and Kim—two friends of ours from Christ’s Church where we are members—who launched the GoFundMe for Shirley and me.

On behalf of many who have asked how they can support the Kellemen family on their journey, Kim Moorehead & Teresa George have prepared a Go Fund Me account. Our desire is to share as a community in a practical way, to help the Kellemen family navigate the finances of Shirley’s medical care.

On June 4, 2021, Shirley Kellemen suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. To read more about praying for Shirley’s recovery, please visit Please Pray for Shirley . To read about her husband’s (Bob) decision to retire in order to provide in-home care for Shirley, please visit A New Beginning. Bob and Shirley’s adult daughter, Marie, has resigned from her full-time job and moved in with her parents in order to provide care for her Mom.

After two months recovering and rehabbing in two hospitals, Shirley has spent the past five months recovering and rehabbing at home. The Kellemens do not have traditional medical insurance. Instead, they are part of Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM)—a group of half-a-million Christians who share medical needs. CHM has covered 90% of the $350,000.00 in health care costs, for which Bob and Shirley are very thankful.

However, Shirley’s uncovered medical expenses are nearing $35,000.00. As a family, they want to take responsibility for covering the majority of these uncovered expenses. Yet, their friends have encouraged Bob and Shirley to reach out to others like you to join in providing for these uncovered medical expenses.

So we have set our GoFundMe goal at $15,000.00. Sharing will help Bob and Shirley in covering needs like Shirley’s stair chair lift, Shirley’s fitted wheelchair, dozens of items of medical rehab equipment, medical deductibles, uncovered medical expenses, uncovered prescription expenses, an in-home hospital bed, retrofitting the interior of the home for handicap accessibility, uncovered ambulance transport expenses, and more, as Shirley continues to rehab from her stroke.

Thank you, and God’s blessings on your generosity to Shirley and Bob Kellemen.

With Love, Your Family in Christ,

Teresa & Kim

The post How Do We Know When to Ask Others for Help? What Does the Bible Teach? appeared first on RPM Ministries.

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