An old African proverb tells of a band of elephants happily crossing the terrain until they come to a raging river. The big elephants had no problem in steeping into the rough, dangerous waters. However, the small elephants in the group were afraid to take that first step. Elephants are known for never forgetting. As the big elephants were crossing over, one of the elephants in the middle of the river shouted to the front of the line, to those who had already crossed over, and said, “Brother leader, we have some folks still standing on the bank of the river who haven’t made it into the water.”
Brother leader didn’t call a town meeting, or give a grant, or seek any new legislation. These lead elephants turned around, got back into the water, and stood shoulder to shoulder, allowing their bodies to create a dam that parted the waters to all the small and more fearful elephants to cross over on dry ground.
The Bible calls us to bring others along with us. The most well known, apart from Jesus, is Paul who, amongst others, brought along the younger Timothy. But there are many others too: Moses who brought along Joshua, Elijah who brought along Elisha, Peter who brought John Mark. For Jesus this was paramount. He had hardly begun his ministry before he chose, after a night of prayer, those he would bring with him, twelve in fact.
Who are you bringing along with you? Who are you turning around and getting back in the water for? It’s not just about getting to the “other side.” It’s also about those you bring with you.
We all need help getting across, and we all need to help others to cross too. I like this adaptation of a popular web quote: “A friend is someone who, when you forget your song, comes and sings it for you.”