The Gift of Helps: Undergirding Others With This Forgotten Gift
What is the gift of helps?
That is the question that led me to write my first book.
My love for the Word of God
I have enjoyed a lifelong love for the Word of God. Ever since I was a child I was immersed in the Scriptures and brought up to be diligent in their study. One of the things that has always brought me great joy is discovering the “hidden gems” of the Word: small and easily-overlooked verses, stories, ideas, and thoughts, hidden within the gold mine that is God’s Word.
Having left school at age fifteen and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, I became very prominent in my world of business. Coupled with my business career, I had grown up as a Plymouth Brethren believer with a strong foundation in the Scriptures and began to teach and preach in many churches in both the United Kingdom and across the United States. I had the privilege of befriending Dr. Billy Graham, Arthur Blessit, Dr. John Stott, Dr. R.T. Kendall, and many more great men of God who would only spur me on in my love for the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
However, at a time of great illness and brokenness in my life, I was introduced to a man named Bob Gass. With his wife, Debbie, they founded a ministry called The Word for Today, publishing devotional materials that millions around the world have read. Bob sadly passed away in 2019.
Bob and I enjoyed sharing with each other fresh thoughts from Scripture that “will preach,” that is, thoughts we believed would work well in a sermon. It was a message he brought in Manchester, England, that awoke in me a new realization. He spoke about the (unnamed) men that held the ropes, lowering the basket for the Apostle Paul to escape almost certain death and continue his awesome ministry (Acts 9:25). This emphasis on unnamed “helpers” who played a vital but easily-overlooked role led to another discovery for me.
Why have I never seen this before?
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” — 1 Corinthians 12:28
This well-known passage on the gifts of the Holy Spirit contained one little word that I had never focused on: helps.
There have been many books written on prophecy, teaching, healing, and tongues, but I’d never come across one on the subject of helps. But there it was. I knew I had to do something with this newly-discovered gift of the Holy Spirit.
There is only one other place in the New Testament where the word helps is used (I’m old-fashioned, so I was looking in the KJV) and that is in Acts 27:17, where a team of sailors jumped overboard with ropes to undergird their storm-tossed ship, keeping it from breaking apart.
This helps isn’t the same Greek words as the one in 1 Corinthians 12:28, but the story stands out nonetheless. What could be a better picture of the gift of helps in action than these men putting their lives at risk to undergird this ship that was carrying 276 passengers?
What is helps?
So what is helps? The word itself means: “practical help, aid, lending support.” This might not seem as exciting as some other gifts, but empowered by the Holy Spirit it can be a true life-changer.
Those involved in the ministry of helps are always ready to volunteer, to work around the church doing the mundane and least appealing jobs, and doing them faithfully and with great love. It may be strategic or administrative support of one kind or another. It can be as an aid to the widowed, the elderly and infirm, or those in mourning. Helps comes alongside the downtrodden, downcast, depressed, defeated, doubting, and deserted and often meets humanity at its most primitive level.
Some burdens cannot and should not be carried alone, which is why helps is such a vital gift for us to pray for and exercise. It is the gift of love-in-action.
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving and sharing with those in need.
An obligation, not an option.
As it is with any gift of the Holy Spirit, it is an obligation for believers to activate this gift, with the understanding that it is not an option, but a command.
How are you going to use your gift of helps?
Perhaps this is something you have never heard about before. Maybe you’re a pastor and you’ve never preached on this subject. I encourage you to get together with your friends, family, small group, and church community, and determine how you will activate this gift for the glory of God.
My prayer is that God, by His Spirit, will raise up a great number of believers to share the blessings of this gift; that there will arise a great army of active helps—helping, encouraging, loving, praying, sharing, and serving those around them.
Billy Graham once said, “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” We are blessed to be a blessing.
How can you bless others with your gift of helps today?