So keep these commandments carefully in mind. Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, and tie them to your forehead between your eyes! Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! Write them upon the doors of your houses and upon your gates. Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (TLB)
"Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For the spirit indeed is willing, but how weak the body is!" Matthew 26: 41 (TLB)
Jason Koon lives in North Carolina. Most of us can remember "helping" our parents when we were children. For Jason, helping usually consisted of him holding a tool while his father worked nearby. Sometimes he'd get to turn a wrench or finish pounding a nail, but his father could easily have done those tasks without him. Eventually Jason realized that this time spent helping his father was an opportunity for him to learn and practice skills that he would one day teach his children.
Jason thinks that Jesus was doing the same thing with his disciples in Gethsemane. "Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation," Jesus says to them after they've fallen asleep. Jesus is not asking them to do this for his own benefit but for theirs.
Just as Jason's father used his help to teach him the things he would need to know as he grew into adulthood, God invites us to participate in serving the world. Whether through prayer and worship, caring for the poor, looking out for those who are alone, or providing for those without housing, God uses these opportunities to shape us into mature disciples.
God included us not because the job can't be done without our help but because God has chosen to involve all of us in the work of the kingdom.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for involving us in your work in the world. Help us to see opportunities each day to love you and serve our neighbors, in Jesus' name. Amen.