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In an evening Bible study, the topic turned to faith and prayer and what we can do to gain God’s favor. The leader said, “Doesn’t God help those who help themselves.”
It wasn’t a question.
Heads nodded. Everyone agreed.
But not me.
“No,” I said, “I don’t believe that.”
The shock on people’s faces changed to curiosity. What was wrong with Frank that he didn’t believe the obvious?
“God helps those who help others,” I  said, “not themselves.”
Effort is important. In Jesus story of the talents, the man who hid his talent was judged for his lack of effort. The more important question is what we should do with that effort. What are we to do with God’s gifts, serve ourselves or serve others?
Jesus said the most important of all commandments is to love God. That fact comes as no surprise to most people. What is often missed is the command that he says is equally important, to love others as much as ourselves.
Do we want to be great in his Kingdom? Jesus said, to earn the places of highest honor, we must be the greatest of servants.
Whoever is the greatest among you must be everyone’s servant. — Matthew 23:11