My daughter has been learning how to play the ukulele at school.
They’ve been working on the song “Lean on Me.”
She and I have been singing that song together for a while now. We even looked up the lyrics to be sure we were getting the words right.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to mishear the words in a song. For example, when I was a kid I remember listening to this old Kenny Rogers tune.
The song goes “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucile…with four hungry children and a crop in the field.”
For the longest time I thought he said “Four hundred children and crop in the field.” I couldn’t get over it. I mean, what kind of person is Lucile? How could she leave a man alone with FOUR HUNDRED children!? And…how on earth did she give birth to that many babies?!?
Thanks to Google, I can look up lyrics these days.
And as my daughter and I continue to sing and learn the words to Lean on Me, I keep thinking about Jesus.
The song starts out with such a universal truth.
“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow…”
I mean, everyone of us has known pain, right?
And then we get to the chorus…
“Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on…”
…that’s where I start thinking about Jesus…and about His church.
You see, there’s this verse in Matthew 11 where Jesus said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
In other words, Jesus is saying “Lean on me, when you’re not strong…when you have pain and sorrow…lean on me and I will give you rest.”
It’s abundantly comforting to know He is always there for me and for you to lean on. So often, I try to rely solely on myself…and I struggle because of it. But, Jesus doesn’t want us to walk alone.
He gives us Himself…and He gives us the church.
You see, Jesus called the church…He called me and you to be His hands and feet.
That means the church is supposed to be a place where people can get rest…a place where people can lean when they have pain and sorrow…when they are hurting.
But, so often we avoid the opportunity to be there for someone to lean on, don’t we? We don’t have the time. Or we don’t know how or even want to get involved.
I’d love to tell you that I’m writing this because I’ve mastered it. The truth is, I often struggle here. Sometimes, I get “too busy” or I don’t know what to say. Or I find myself choosing words that don’t come out just right and so I get embarrassed and withdraw. Or I assume folks would rather talk to someone, no anyone else but me…there are a host of reasons, really.
But, I want to be someone others can lean on. Don’t you?
After all, it’s essential to our faith. We’re called to love God and love others.
So, let’s all be someone others can lean on today. And, let’s remember that…in order to do that…we need to rely on His strength, not our own.
It doesn’t have to be complicated…a text, a card, a call, an offer to go out for coffee. Sometimes simple gestures are the most powerful.
Jesus set up the church so that we can lean and be leaned on by each other.
He knows there’s a world of hurting people all around us looking for a place to lean…and He’s called His church to be help.
That’s both a great challenge and a great opportunity to show His love.
So, who is God placing in your path today? Who can you lean on and who needs to lean on you?
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