If you are going to do some heavy lifting today, you better have a spotter.
For a brief spell, I pumped iron. Early in the morning--three days a week--I hit the gym with my son, Paul. It was heave, grimace, grunt, and sweat all in the name of physical fitness.
Let me assure you, nobody was mistaking me for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the exercise paid off. Having a workout partner helped!
One day Paul and I were pumping “mad weight” (our slang for serious pounds) when he said, “Dad, I need you to spot for me.” As Paul neared the end of his set, muscle fatigue set in. He was unable to lift the bar—or so he thought. When his mind told him he could not do it, I coaxed, encouraged, and gave him just enough help to show him he could. Good spotters do that. They are there when you need them, and they find a way to help you get past the “heavy stuff.”
I doubt the apostle Paul lifted weights, but I am sure he understood the importance of a spotter. Read his letters and you will see that he had many spotters, including one by the name of Titus:
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 ESV
Like the Apostle Paul, you know what it is like to be weighed down in life don't you? You have felt the pressure of big decisions. You have struggled under the weight of heavy responsibilities. You understand physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue.
Yeah, you've been to that gym!
There are moments when you have said, "I can’t 'lift the bar' one more time." And with that fatigue come the thoughts: "Where is God?" "Why do I bother with any of this?" "God doesn't care!"
This is why we need spotters.
Like Titus, these friends will encourage us to trust God, to persevere, and to stay strong. Some days they will advise us, “Don’t attempt such a heavy load!” On other occasions they will help lift our burden. When we fail, they will remind us of God's grace and forgiveness. Through it all they help keep our minds renewed in the words and ways of Christ (Romans 12:2).
People need spotters when they walk into the gym and when they walk out. That is why we champion the life-on-life community that comes through small groups. Life is too dangerous to go it alone. So let me ask you two questions:
Who are you spotting today? Who is spotting for you?