Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.(Luke 19:1-6)
One of the best ways to bless another person is to ask for their help.
“But wait! Isn’t it better to give than to receive?” Absolutely. Think about how you feel when you help somebody else. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you’ve contributed to the wellbeing of another human being? The psychological and physiological benefits of helping other people are well documented. Helping others not only makes you feel better, it actually improves your health.
And you get to confer all those benefits upon another person by simply asking for their help.
Why is it hard to ask for help? Perhaps it’s pride: not wanting to be think of ourselves as weak or in need. We like to think of ourselves as helpers, not the person being helped. Or perhaps it’s fear: not wanting to put the other person out or inconvenience them. Maybe we’ve experienced being asked in a manipulative or unhealthy manner and it’s left a bad taste in our mouths.
And yet, asking for help, when done with humility, is a powerful way to bless another person. It demonstrates that you respect them as someone who has something to contribute and a gift to offer the world.
Some pointers about asking for help in a way that will bless:
- A polite “no” is always an acceptable answer. The point of asking isn’t to manipulate someone into doing something; rather, it is to offer them an opportunity to help. A “No” is not a rejection of you.
- Make the ask manageable. Small asks are much easier for people to commit to. “Will you pray for me?” is much simpler than “Will you meet with me weekly for prayer?”
- Receive whatever help you receive with gratitude. When the person fulfills your ask, be grateful, even if you didn’t get exactly what you were looking for. If you ask someone to make cookies, you don’t critique their baking. Be grateful that the person cared enough to share. And communicate that gratitude to them.
- Be cautious about asking professionals to donate their services for free. It’s not off limits, of course. Professionals do love to help others. But it is very easy to overstep boundaries. When in doubt, just offer to pay for the professional services.
- Be cautious about asking too many times. People love to help, but they do also like to receive. Reciprocate and ask how you can bless them.
What are some small asks that you can do? Ask for prayer. Seek advice. Ask to borrow a book. Ask someone to share a recipe. Ask for a ride. Who are you going to ask today?