In 1947 Marcia Brown wrote the first version of a fable entitled “Stone Soup”. Wikipedia summarizes the story: “Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with just a little bit of carrot to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.”
The story of stone soup is a wonderful illustration of how we can accomplish great things when we combine our resources and work together. It teaches us the difference between independence and interdependence. An independent person prefers to work alone; relying on his own self. Thus he is limited by his own skills, knowledge, and resources. He becomes interdependent when he is conscious of his personal limitations and determines not to rely solely on his own resources. He sees the value in working together for a common good.
Moses was chosen to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, but he never could have done it without the help of others. As you read the stories below, consider the different ways Moses relied on others for help.
· Exodus 4:14-16 à When Moses complained that he was not able to speak, God sent Aaron to help. For many years Aaron remained at Moses’ side to help him with his inadequacy.
· Exodus 17:10-13 à The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. As long as Moses held up his hands the Israelites were winning. Since it was impossible for Moses to hold up his hands for such a long time, he relied on Joshua and Hur for help. These two men supported Moses until the battle was finally won.
· Exodus 18:13-27 à Moses’ father-in-law advised him to depend on others to help with the day to day task of settling disputes. These leaders would judge over “tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands” giving Moses time for his family and other concerns.
Carefully selected and trained individuals helped Moses with the day to day tasks. Joshua and Hur supported Moses in a time of crisis. Aaron stayed at Moses’ side and compensated for his inadequacies. All of these people played a vital role in helping Moses accomplish God’s plan. Throughout Scripture we discover many examples of interdependence:
· Acts 6:1-7 à As the number of Christians increased the leaders had to restructure themselves so ministry could continue to grow and expand.
· Luke 9:1-6 à Jesus chose and trained twelve men then sent them out to share the gospel.
· 1 Corinthians 12 à Paul explains how we are all part of one body. We use our gifts to work together in reaching a common goal.
The Bible is very clear. We are here to help each other.
· Romans 12:15-16
· Galatians 6:2
· Galatians 6:9-10
· Colossians 3:23-24
In order to increase volunteerism we must willing to identify, enlist, train, commission and encourage future leaders. As you reflect on the passages above, how can you see these things taking place?
· Why is it difficult for us to rely on others when we need help?
· What are the barriers that keep us from helping others when we see that they have a need?
· How can we overcome those barriers?
· Have your group describe the positive things that would result from each member working together to serve others.
· This week take the time to identify one or two people who could use an encouraging word, assistance with a task, or some other help. Make a plan to assist to this person.
Brother, let me be your servant
When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony
Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too