“God helps those that help themselves” is probably one of the most mis-quoted things people think is biblical.
The phrase was actually coined by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s almanac in 1757.
The phrase is often uttered when a person runs across another person that is what they deem as a “lost cause” or lazy.
What is interesting about this particular phrase is that it is not Biblically sound. The fact is, the Bible teaches us the opposite; that God helps the helpless and expects us as his followers to as well!
If you think about this in terms of Salvation, God truly did help us, the helpless. Nothing we can do or not do earns us our salvation. He sent his son to die for us to receive this free gift. It is only through Christ that we get this!
While it is true that God does not tell us to remain inactive, but to work hard. If you ask for help with food, for instance, but refuse to plant a garden, God cannot just make food appear in the fields.
In regards to others, he asks us to care for the “least of these”, which we all are in some way. While another person may seem lost in a cycle of poor choices, it may be hard for us as people to continue to see the person the way God sees them. There is no one that is too lost or far-gone to our Father in heaven!
I try to remember that God’s time is not my time. I am here to plant “seeds”. If I help a person who seems like a lost cause and don’t see immediate results, I sometimes lose patience, especially when I help this same person several times and see no results. Don’t forget, though, while we may lose patience, a seed you planted by caring for this individual years ago, may start to grow today.
Photo by Andrew Kudrin via Flickr