Red-faced with anger, twenty-something Marnie, hefted a 16-foot canoe on one shoulder. She stormed past her aunt with the watercraft, headed for the SUV with a roof rack.

While Aunt Geri tried to grab an end of the canoe, she chased her niece across the large lawn, crying out, “Let me help you!” Instead, Marnie shuffled the awkward shape from her shoulder to her head until the rocking red canoe looked like an outrageous hat the size of a car.

“I can take one end!” Aunt Geri offered. She was a genuine outdoorswoman and canoe handler.

“No!” Marnie steamed. “Bill and his brother, Wayne, were supposed to load this!”

“But your husband and Wayne are working overtime. I can help.”

“No, I told you the men were supposed to do this.”

“I’m not a 90-pound weakling. Let me give you a hand.”

“Absolutely not!” she emphasized. “I can get it. When I see Bill and Wayne, I’m going to let them have it!”

And Marnie loaded and tied down the canoe on top of the SUV in triple the time it would have taken with four hands and two people. Marnie hadn’t learned yet there is no shame in asking for or accepting help.

Working together and helping each other is part of God’s plan. He never intended for us to be totally independent of Him and others. But that’s the beauty of His plan of giving us a world full of potential friends just waiting to bless us with help and shared experiences.

Help. Young widow Ruth sure needed it. As she and her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, walked more than 40 miles from Moab to Bethlehem, they both thought and prayed about their needs. At the time, widow’s benefits were non-existent. Though many widows today are left in great need of extra help, women in Ruth’s time could not expect “Welcome Wagon” baskets,  free food boxes, windfalls or pension checks.

Footsore and tired, they needed help right away. Someone had to get groceries. In that time of harvest, as in some farming communities today, not everything is picked. For the gleaner willing to work, the scraps from the harvest are free.

Ruth rushed to a nearby field to collect grain. Naomi didn’t tell her where.

God grinned. No coincidence, the all-knowing Supreme Being guided her to a relative’s field. The wealthy man’s name was Boaz. When the entrepreneur noticed the hard-working foreign woman, he asked his workers about her. As the big man learned of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law, he was impressed with her and invited the woman to glean right behind his workers. By the time he invited her to join him for lunch, he was fascinated and drawn into her humble heart. Again no coincidence. God was smiling.

So it came to be that the two widows in desperate need of help became the foundation of the redeemer’s story – that Boaz redeemed and married Ruth in the little town of Bethlehem. They produced a son, who was rootstalk in the line of David. Generations later, Jesus responded to our universal need. He was born from this bloodline – destined to be savior of the world—shouldering our need for forgiveness and a fresh start on life.

Help! It’s there for the asking and the accepting.

Just as thousands of years ago, two footsore widows needed help and were willing to work for it, God provides help for us. It can be big things – or small, like an extra set of hands to load a 16-foot canoe.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from, her speaking engagements and  website, Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]









About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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