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Bumper Sticker Theology - God helps those that help themselves

27 August, 2023

As I write this, I am not too sure just what our guest worship leader will be concentrating on, apart from the report back to us of the findings of the recent Life and Witness review.

I will be leading worship for Nigel at two of his three congregations, Crib Point and Balnarring UCs. I am taking this theme with me and so I look forward to sharing with them. So just in case Nigel goes somewhere else here are some of my thoughts for you.

Although this Bumper Sticker Theology phrase sounds like it comes from the Bible, it actually doesn’t. Benjamin Franklin is behind this phrase and when we stop and think about what this phrase says, we realise that in the kingdom of God the opposite holds true.

God helps those who cannot help themselves. This includes those we help that cannot help themselves, and it includes us, who might believe we can do everything ourselves. This is the work of grace. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. So, we need to be more like Jesus.

Now that statement might sound a little familiar and would be because our guest preacher last week – Rev Alistair Macrae – said exactly the same thing. We need to be more like Jesus, and we need to fall in love with Jesus again.

The readings which go with this theme are Mark 10:35-45 and Psalm 121. In our reading from Mark, we hear about James and John, the sons of Zebedee approaching Jesus and asking to be set in places of importance on either side of Jesus when he comes into his glory. This is also where we hear that those who wish to be great must be a servant and those who wish to be first must be a slave to all. Jesus tells the disciples “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give is life a ransom for many.” (v45)

This reminds me of what we are exploring with the help of Ann van Leerdam. How can we be servants for the people in our local community? Where are the possibilities and just what might be involved for us here at Murrumbeena UC to serve.

The answer to this could just be keep doing what we are doing! Maybe by tweaking or refining some of the things we already do we could open doors and help those who cannot help themselves?

The church council has had a sneak peek at the some of the things that Nigel will be sharing with the congregation and there is one phrase that speaks so much to me and speaks into all that we do – caring for each other. I believe if that is all we get from this process it is a good thing to be reminded of.

Jay Robinson

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