Standing in the gap. Taking a stand. Putting forth the effort to help someone other than ourselves. These are qualifications of a gap-stander. Moses filled this role on numerous occasions when He persuaded God to not destroy the children of Israel despite their continuous rebellion. Several other Bible characters stood in the gap by praying for others and repenting of the sins of their families and even entire nations. And, of course, Jesus stood in the gap when He allowed Himself to be tried, convicted and sentenced to death for sins He had not committed. With His great sacrifice, He bridged the gap between Heaven and Earth, between us and the Father.
What about you? Are you a bystander or a gap-stander? A bystander is someone who's on the outside looking in, willing to watch but never willing to get involved. A bystander will watch others make mistakes instead of offering a word of advice. A bystander will sit on the sidelines as others sink deeper into depression and despair rather than taking the time to encourage that person through a phone call, letter, email or even a hug. A bystander will view others' problems with a shrug of his shoulders and declare, "I can't really help him. I've got my own problems to deal with."
On the other hand, a gap-stander is someone who is willing to look beyond himself and his own needs and view the needs of others. A gap-stander gives when he doesn't think he has enough to give. He prays for others even when it seems his prayers for personal needs aren't being answered. A gap-stander goes out of his way to help, encourage and uplift those who are hurting despite how much he may be hurting himself. He intercedes on behalf of those who are broken. And in doing these things, he models Christ.
So, I ask you again, are you a bystander or a gap-stander? Do you find yourself too busy or too preoccupied to reach out to others? Or are you always on the lookout for ways to be a blessing?
We can stand and watch the world go by, or we can jump in and make a difference. I don't know about you, but I know which I would rather do.