Jesus never said, "God helps those who help themselves."

Actually, Benjamin Franklin said it, and he got it from someone else. It's not a bad thing to say, if you say it to yourself. In that case, it's a good antidote to playing the victim and blaming everyone else for your problems. However, it's not such a good thing to say if you say, if you say it to someone else. In that case, it communicates an unwillingness to go out of your way on behalf of someone in need.

What Jesus really thought about helping people is captured in a story he told, "The last judgment." In that story, how people will be judged at the end of their life will depend on how they helped, or failed to help, those whom Jesus calls "the least of these". Who are the least of these? They are people struggling with the most basic human needs. Often they don't need spectacular help, just something small. They need help, but they don't need to be judged. And Jesus considers them his brothers and sisters.

In our sermon this Sunday, we will look at the story Jesus told, and what Jesus wants us to do for a brother or sister in need.

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