LEAN ON ME by Michael Rivers

Michael RiversWorking with men going through a nine month drug and alcohol rehabilitation program is both inspiring and challenging at the same time.  The men live on a campus which provides them the opportunity to detox, relearn life skills, and ultimately find job placement.  Even though the men have all of their basic needs met by the program such as food and shelter, they must never the less adhere to the governing rules.  The real challenge for the men is living and relating to the other men in the recovery program and the ever present temptation to quit the rehabilitation and return to the streets.

I currently teach and advise a group of a dozen men who only have a few weeks left to successfully complete the recovery program. During one of our weekly class sessions, the guys openly shared how they had often bonded and came together to provide support and encouragement to one another along the way.  They shared how another group of guys also in the program had often spoken words of discouragement over them, saying that they didn’t have the resolve to make it to the end and graduate.  They learned the value of teamwork as they turned to one another for strength and determination to continue in the program with high hopes of graduating to a new start in life.

Having been a Christian for twenty five years, I’ve learned the importance of teamwork and dependency upon other believers for successful navigation along this faith journey.  I believe every Christian can testify to personally receiving strength and support from another believer at one time or another.  How many times have we received a phone call from a concerned friend when we experienced personal adversity or a difficult trial?  How many personal testimonies describe God’s strategic placement of another Christian in our workplace seemingly for our encouragement at just the right time?

I thank God that He uses us to support one another.  We become extensions of His arms, feet, and most importantly, His heart while serving one another.  The apostle Paul penned this point in Ephesians 4:16, “From Christ the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” 

The lone ranger mentality can take a person only so far in both his and her faith or in the workplace.  Are we quick to forget our mentors and trainers who invested in our early success?  How about supportive family members or spouses who have stood by our sides throughout all of life’s seasons?  Most importantly, have we taken the time to extend our support and encouragement to others in need of our assistance?  Have we invested and poured into others as they began their career path?

Some of the most meaningful lessons from life are found in the most unlikely of places, such as the testimonies of a dozen guys in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program confessing their need for one another.  The value of teamwork is applicable in any arena of life, whether personally or professionally, and even spiritually. May we enjoy the blessing of dependence upon one another, always open to giving and receiving both support and encouragement.

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