Back in the “olden days” when someone had a barn burn down, the whole community came to help build a new one. Or when someone was putting up a new barn for the first time, they still got help from the community. I know what you’re thinking…what’s the catch? Well, if YOU needed help next time, then everyone came to help you. It was an unspoken rule – one that sadly, we don’t follow today.
Now, I am not pointing fingers. I’m writing this for ME as much as I am for you guys…but what has happened to us? Why have we stopped helping our neighbors? Why do we sit at home in our comfortable little chairs and pretend like no one else needs our help? That’s a LIE.
We try to do everything ourselves instead of enlisting help. We’re afraid if we DO get help, then we’ll be required to help someone else out later. Big flippin’ deal. Shouldn’t you want to help someone else?
“So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Guess what? I’m a control freak. Big time. I have a hard time letting someone help me. Even if it takes me longer, I’m more likely to do it myself.
For me to ask for help means I have to swallow my pride. I don’t like swallowing my pride. I like it just where it is, thank you very much. It’s very hard to put yourself out there and say “Hey, I need help. Would you mind to come over and help me for the day?” Ouch.
But, I did it anyway. I asked for help with painting our new house…and two friends responded. Two. Yes, two is better than none. For me though, that was a HUGE blow. What have I done that would make no one want to come over and help us?
Guess what again? That’s MY FAULT. Totally, 100% my fault. Why? Because I’ve never really taken the time to say “Hey, you’re my friend and I love you. I know you need help today. What can I do?”
No, instead I’ve stayed on my sorry behind in my own house and forgot about everyone else. Shame on me.
I need to start embracing the attitude of those in the “olden days.” I need to help my neighbor when he/she needs it. That’s my calling and my job. It’s yours too.
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
And in line with my frugal nature, I just have to tell you that helping your neighbor is also a lesson in frugality. You’re helping them and you’re also helping you. Should you help in order to get help back? No, otherwise you’ll be very disappointed later in life. You should help because you want to, but it will pay off. Here’s how being a good neighbor is frugal.
- If you help someone with their project, it’s also an educational experience for you. Many times Barry has helped someone out with a project just so that he could learn something new. This has saved us a TON of money – because now he can do that same thing for us and we can save the money we would have spent to pay someone else to do it.
- Helping your neighbor keeps you from doing something else. This one seems silly, but it’s true. If you spend the day helping your neighbor install a new deck, you’re busy. You’re not at the store. You’re not shopping online. You’re not going out to lunch. You. Are. Busy. Unless your neighbor is an insurance salesman, you’re golden.
- You’re likely to get more help in the future. Yes, this is sorta like “you pat my back and I’ll pat yours.” It’s not the reason you should help, but it’s a good payoff. Having someone to help you when you need it means that you’re more likely to not have to pay someone to do it. Nice.
- You might get the leftovers. A few times Barry has helped with construction projects and gotten some of the leftovers. Or, he’s gotten a call later that said “Hey, we have this left over and wondered if you’d like to have it?” Uh, yeah. We’ve accumulated paint, wood, and all sorts of goodies this way.
- It’s an excellent way to Barter. Barry and I are very big on bartering to stay within budget. If your strength is electrical work then you can help your neighbor for free. If their strength is plumbing, then they can help you when your toddler clogs up the toilet with Play Doh. It’s a win-win situation.
Not to mention, you’ll likely make friends for life.