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Keep Holding the Rope!

Read: 1 Samuel 25:18-35; Luke 8:1-3; Acts 6:1-7; Philippians 4:10; Philippians 4:15-16


This week, I was reminded of the faithful missionary William Carey who served in India. He taught that Matthew 28:18-20 was a charge for not only the apostles but all believers. That was different than most of the teaching of his day. In a message he gave, William Carey said that he was willing to go down in the mine if others would hold the rope. Among the men who took that challenge was Andrew Fuller who served Carey by raising funds for his work and by traveling all around the British Isles preaching mission related sermons. As he had promised, Fuller faithfully served in this manner until his death in 1814.


I'm thankful that there are lots of ways that we too can hold the rope, but before we look into that, let's look at the practical ways biblical people held the rope. In 1 Samuel 25:18-35, we look in on Abigail. She had two pluses and one big minus in her life. First the advantages. She was beautiful and possessed godly wisdom. However, her husband was selfish and mean. He was very short-sighted.   He demonstrated his foolishness in the way he reacted to David's request for the food he and his men had earned through their faithful work. Instead of remuneration, David received disrespect and scorn. David became enraged. He was ready to avenge himself. Enter Abigail. Here was her chance to hold the rope for David which would also bring safety for her own family.


I love the way this bold and gracious woman blended food for the weary and hungry men alongside the Lord's unchanging and powerful truths. Food for the nourishment of David and his men and a reminder of God's faithfulness. David would surely become king as God had promised. There was no need for him to take matters into his own hands. What a beautiful combination. Food for body and spirit. What a gracious rope holder God gave David!


In Luke 8:1-3, we are reminded that Jesus our Creator/Redeemer also had people who held the rope for Him. Imagine it. The One Who created everything, Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16, humbly received support from women who loved Him. It is an honor to be a part of someone's work for the Lord, and surely actually being a small part of Jesus' ministry when He was on earth was a sweet privilege. Could there be a better use of what they had at their disposal than to use it to meet Jesus' and His followers' practical needs?


In Acts 6:1-7, we read about a need in the growing church. One group of widows believed that they were being short-changed concerning what they received to meet their daily needs. The apostles couldn't meet this need and also faithfully preach and

pray. Therefore, they asked the disciples to choose men who had a good reputation and were wise and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Men who would faithfully hold the rope. Faithful, wise and Spirit-led men who would do special work so the apostles could do what they needed to do.


Now let's transition and look at an important heart quality that anyone who holds the rope for someone else should possess. We see it in Philippians 4. A longing and eagerness to be a rope holder. These folks supported Paul more than once. In addition, there were other times when they longed to do more but were unable to do so. Hearts that served. Not out of compulsion, but out of love.


What about us? What can we do to be like Abigail or Andrew Fuller? How can we carry or lighten the load for someone making it easier for them to share the most wondrous news that could ever be shared, John 3:16? No list here today, but a suggestion instead. Let's ask the Lord to open our eyes so that we will see places where those involved might need someone to hold their ropes. Let's simply look at our time, treasure and gifts and ask the Lord which of His servants might be helped with the resources He has entrusted into our care. Since God has uniquely crafted and gifted each of us, our answers to those questions might look very different. That is, of course good because the needs around us also vary greatly.


To finish up today, I'd like to highlight a new ministry I learned about this week. Perhaps someone might see what is offered and sense the Holy Spirit's nudge to share it with others. It is called Sunrise Promises, and the purpose of the ministry is to encourage those who might feel isolated. Perhaps in a care facility. There are short two minute videos. Each shares a scripture and a simple teaching concerning that verse. Consider this my simple attempt to hold the rope for this ministry, Sunrise Promises.


Lord, Show us how to support Your people through the unique ways and opportunities that You give each of us. Thank You for giving us opportunity to be involved in the most precious work that can be done.

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