This is Tim’s article from the Evening Leader on August 10, 2020
During my 25 years of serving churches, I like to think I have helped a whole lot of people. That is why I got into this profession in the first place is to help God’s people change the world. I do this by empowering people who are able to be empowered and by helping those who need a hand up. It is all about making this world more like God’s kingdom in big and small ways every day.
While I typically like to think of myself as one of the helpers as opposed to a helpee, these past two weeks have given me a crash course on what it feels like to shift from one role to the other. I ran into a health issue and had to have emergency surgery in Columbus and in a span of just a few days, I went from being a runner to being a person who it was a struggle to walk from the bed to the chair. Thank God, the doctors are very optimistic on my recovery and I look to be back at it by this fall, but for now, I am extremely limited on what I can do.
Small things I used to take for granted, like doing my own laundry or mowing my yard have become a bridge to far. I usually live by myself, but I had to move in with some family members because there are so many things I am not able to do right now. I can’t even stand up long enough to preach a sermon at Wayne Street on Sunday.
To say this has been frustrating would be a tremendous understatement. I just want to be able to drive my car, but even that is too much. While I have not enjoyed learning this lesson, the clear take away from this experience for me is the fact that everyone needs help sometimes. As much as I relied on my own ability to do everything for myself, there comes a time when all of us need to step back from being the one who reaches out to help to being the one who is receiving the offer of help.
I have had many people through the years tell me that they felt bad needing my help, but I always went right over top of that because I thought nothing of helping them. I’ll never do that again. It is a hurtful thing to have to admit that I need help. But for all the help that happens out in the world, there is no act of service without a recipient. It can easily become a source of pride to always be the one offering and never being the one receiving.
It still hurts my pride to know I can’t take the Beetle out for a spin, I can’t mow my own yard, and I can’t do my job at Wayne Street. But that is the price of understanding that we all need each other. All of those jobs are being done by qualified people who have been generous and care about me enough to make sure they get done. I can choose to look at it as a curse that I am unable to do these basic things or I can see just how blessed I am that these things are getting done in my absence by people who care about me. Both of these things are true, just which one am I going to dwell on?
No one wants to be incapacitated. Right now, no one understands that better than I do. But it is during these times that we find out who are friends are. I have also learned what it feels like when God singles you out to learn a lesson about how much we need each other. What I am experiencing now is exactly what all of the people I have helped through the years experienced. It isn’t ingratitude by any means, it is the wound of being less than what I could be because I can no longer serve. The only difference is, thank God, my condition is temporary. But I share this article with you today so that you will learn the lesson that I am currently learning. In order for someone to serve, someone has to be served. There is no other way it works. Today, I am the one being served and as much as that hurts my pride, this is the position God wants me to occupy.
I guess this is one of the risks of being a lifelong Jesus follower, the learning and growth never stop!