>I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Remember that commercial where the older women presses a button on her necklace, then says, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” The button promises independence with an emergency backup. And, I’m sure that it’s helped a lot of people. If they were given a choice, they would certainly prefer to have an actual person there.
Last night, I was listening to Dr. Mike Collins at Monday Night with the MOB (Men of Brookwood). I was tempted to leave early, since it was Game 5 of the World Series (Go Giants!), but I stayed for his whole talk and missed three scoreless innings.
Mike Collins is one of the most remarkable people I have ever known. If you attend Brookwood, you’ve probably seen him in his power wheelchair accompanied by his wife, Susan. Mike was an athlete, a trainer, a coach, a professor and a successful businessman. He’s also a Texan. He mentioned last night that he grew up understanding that you don’t ask for help, you do it yourself.
After an automobile accident in 2003, Mike was left paralyzed from the chest down. While he has gained some movement through intensive physical therapy, he is entirely dependent on his wife and his friends for everything. While I’m sure that there is frustration at times, he says that he’s happier and more fulfilled now than ever. What business success couldn’t bring him a life changing injury did.
When I listen to Mike, I do appreciate the use of my physical abilities. But, most of all, I appreciate his attitude and his outlook on life. I have never left a conversation with him and not felt encouraged. He could have plenty to complain about, yet he chooses to encourage others. He also works three days per week at Greenville Tech with Susan by his side.
Most of us have full use of our physical abilities, yet we are paralyzed in other ways. We can’t get past the things that we’ve done. We can’t get over the hurt of our past. We can’t escape the pull of an addiction. We’re stuck. We need a little button, so we can shout, “I’m stuck and I can’t move forward!”
In the church, help is all around us. Have you asked for help? Have you asked for someone to pray about the thing that’s breaking your heart? Have you borrowed something from someone rather than going out and charging it on your credit card? Do you have a small group around you to encourage you and to lead you to the truth of God’s Word?
Or have you fallen and you can’t get up?
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>The relationship that exists and works between Mike and Susan is inspiring to me for several reasons, one being that is so beautifully pictures the relationship we should have with the church. In this age in which we live, the church, like Dr. Collins, is broken and suffering from the effects of sin and a sinful world. Susan is a great example of the right kind of relationship we should have with the church, the body of Christ. She has forsaken many things to be bound to Mike, not out of a sense of guilt, duty, or pity, rather in true Godly love. The love that one person will gladly lay down her life for another. To truly lay down your life for another isn't just being willing to die, but to give, in a life of service and sacrifice, day in and day out. She can see in Mike his true value, far, far greater than the physical appearance of his temporary body. They both recognize their value as children of the King, heirs with him in a kingdom without equal.In a similar manner, we all should look at our place in the church and find how we can aid and assist the other members of that body, broken and imperfect as it is, seeing not what is in front of us, but what Christ sees, a perfect body, molded and shaped in the image of the living God.This service to the church body isn't always some great, wonderful thing that only a select few are capable of doing. It often consists of simple things, buying some groceries for a family in need, helping a child learn a valuable life lesson, picking up a piece of paper some other thoughtless person left on the floor, serving coffee on Sunday. There's really no end to the possibilities to fill needs. All we really need is to look at the church through the eyes of love, the way Susan looks at Mike, and act on what you see.