God helps those who help themselves?


What does this phrase mean exactly?

The last time I heard it, it was given in a spiteful context. As if to say that unless you’re acutely discerning in the most minute aspects of whatever task/situation is at hand, that you’re just acting haphazardly and therefore wreckless - like we’re presuming on the Lord to deliver us from whatever mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

So what does this saying mean?



It means we must do some action to get out of a situation sometimes. God won’t just drop something in our laps.

For example:

George wants to find a nice Catholic woman, get married, and have a family. He has no job skills and no job. He lives with his parents. He does not have a driver’s license. He does not do volunteer work. He basically sits on his front porch all day, everyday, lamenting the fact he is not married.

Henry wants to find a nice Catholic woman, get married, and have a family. He is educated and found a suitable job. He lives on his own. He drives a car. He is involved with his church and helps out where he can. He meets people through various channels of his involvement in the community. He is involved.

Who is more likely to find someone first?

A farmer is in Iowa during a flood. The river is overflowing, with water surrounding the farmer’s home up to his front porch. As he is standing there, a boat comes up, The man in the boat says "Jump in, I’ll take you to safety."
The farmer crosses his arms and says stubbornly, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. The water rises to the second floor. Another boat comes up, the man says to the farmer who is now in the second story window, "Jump in, I’ll save you."
The farmer again says, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. Now the water is up to the roof. As The farmer stands on the roof, a helicopter comes over, and drops a ladder. The pilot yells down to the farmer "I’ll save you, climb the ladder."
The farmer says "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The helicopter goes away. The water comtinues to rise and sweeps the farmer off the roof. He drowns.
The farmer goes to heaven. God sees him and says "What are you doing here?"
The farmer says "I put my trust in you and you let me down."
God says, “What do you mean, let you down? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!!!”


It appears to be an excellent fallback position for those who insist God helps anyone. :o


My dear friend

Your agnostic i see. If you are intersted then please read this page off my website heavensmessengers.org/inherit_eternallife.html and doubting does not automatically exclude you from religious duites you know. I would just say that God loves you with an infinite love and through eternity no matter what you believe. God wants you as His child and has shed His blood on a cross for you. He really loves you. You will find happiness with God and you’ll be happier the closer you get to Him. To bet on God is the safest and best bet you’ll ever make. If your right then you get bliss after this test. If your wrong you lost nothing. You can be truly happy in this life and the next with God.

I’ll pray for you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


Dear “JL”… to my mind, “God helps those who help themselves” is simply a way of expressing that we must cooperate with God’s grace. God has given all of us free will. When we pray… and ask Him for help… He will surely grant the graces that we NEED (but maybe not answer the prayer, in the exact way that WE wanted).

We “help” ourselves, with God’s grace… through courageously moving forward with our lives. Sometimes, fear can cause us to freeze and not trust in God. I’ve lived this, in my own life for many years… and “God helps those who help themselves” has become sort of a motto for me. I hope this helps.

God bless you, dear soul.


A person who lost a limb does not need “graces”. They need their limb back.


Hmm. So you don’t believe that it takes a certain amount of faith in God… to get through the loss of a limb? That’s sad. :frowning:

I’m slowly losing my vision. And I don’t know what I’d do… if I didn’t entrust my upcoming difficulties to God’s Mercy. I need a new set of eyes. But it’s not likely to happen. Thankfully, I believe God will support my needs.

God bless you.

(note: there are two versions of my response… because I was “quoted” before I was finished “tweaking”. :smiley: )


I see you’re an agnostic, so I’ll respond as an agnostic:

The only reason anyone would need their limb back is if they wish to provide more food for worms when they die; otherwise, the very nature of grace in and of itself is worth infinitely more than an arm, leg or torso.


First and foremost, the saying isn’t particularly “Christian” - as it denies the workings of grace - and it’s definitely not found in Scripture. Scripture is pretty unified in its assessment that neither kings, nor princes, nor any man can help themselves, that we are fallen and helpless, and it’s only God who manages to accomplish.

This doesn’t mean that we can be lazy or apathetic, thinking God will simply pick us up and plant us where we need to be like dolls or lifeless puppets. Our free will is to do the will of God, and we can only discern the will of God through prayer, Scripture, and attending regular Mass.



Since this life is the only one we know we have, and most people use their limbs to survive and support themselves, I’ll place this “grace” and it’s value where I see it being of value.:wink:


An agnostic, relativistic naturalist. Much more dizzying.

Someone is afraid of commitment.


The quality of life is dependent on more than just the number of limbs a person has. If it were, then there would be a lot more suicides, I suspect. Statistically speaking, the average human craves more than just arms and legs, the ability to walk and grab: they crave love, understanding, and forgiveness, all of which are products of grace received and given.



Not sure about that. Not all people have this “grace”. Somehow I am missing your point.:confused:


It’s not a hard point to miss, really. If you wish to judge the quality of this life, the one we know about, by how many arms and legs we have, then I’m afraid that such quality is actually rather hollow. A person can have two arms and two legs and still lived depravedly. You’re right in saying that not all people have this grace, a grace which operates just as much in this world as it is of benefit in whatever next there may be, but for those who do have it, even the most depraved of physical, naturalistic conditions is no match.


Having arms and legs does affect one’s quality of life. That is an objective statement. Anything discounting that is subjective and dependent on emotional appeal to some supernatural entity.


Indeed, having arms and legs does affect one’s quality of life. Dalton Trumbo made that evidently clear. But having arms and legs is not the epicenter of a qualitatively sufficient life. It is quite possible to have no arms, no legs and yet be able to embrace life and death as a satisfied human being. It is also quite possible to be born with no sight and no hearing and also experience life more fully than those who are born with it. Read an actual biography of Helen Keller and you’ll understand what I mean.


I’m surprised you mention Helen Keller. She was an athiest.:slight_smile:


All the more reason you should actually read a biography of her.


If you think it will be helpful in some way, I will try to do that.


“SJ” You might also be interested in reading about guitarist/singer/songwriter… Tony Melendez. His story is inspiring. Here are a couple of links for you. God bless.



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