A Scout is…Helpful

When asked where religion came into Scouting, Sir Robert Baden-Powell , the founder of the Scouting movement, replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there.  It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

This is a continuation in a series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Helpful

A Scout cares about other people.  He helps others without expecting payment or reward.  He fulfills his duties to his family by helping at home.

The third point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is helpful.”  Being helpful is a virtue that is advocated throughout the Bible.  Consider these two examples from the Old Testament:

You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray, and hide yourself from them; you shall certainly bring them back to your brother. And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him. You shall do the same with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment; with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he has lost and you have found, you shall do likewise; you must not hide yourself.  You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again. ~ Deuteronomy 22:1-4

If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.  Leviticus 25:35-36

In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul encouraged his readers to help each other:

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.  And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.  Philippians 4:2-3

Probably the best known example where Jesus encourages being helpful is the Parable of the Good Samaritan:

Luke 10:30-37

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

A Scout is Helpful
~ Norman Rockwell, 1939

The Samaritan cared for the man, despite the fact that Samaritans usually did not associate with Jews.  He went out of his way to help, despite the major inconvenience to himself.  After administering first aid – like any good Scout would do – the Samaritan man not only took the man to an inn – the closest thing to a hospital that existed at the time – but he also paid for the man’s expenses.

This story exemplifies the way a Scout is to be helpful.  A Scout should genuinely care about those around him – not just his friends and family, but all he comes in contact with.  A Scout should be willing to go out of his way to help others, and should be able to use Scouting skills, such as first aid, Scoutcraft, or leadership skills.  And, a Scout should not expect payment or reward for giving a helping hand.  This doesn’t mean that a Scout can’t do a job for pay, but it does mean that he shouldn’t expect payment for doing a good turn.  The satisfaction of having helped someone in need should be reward enough.

“A Scout is helpful,” like most of the values Scouting teaches, is firmly rooted in the Bible.  I firmly believe that the Biblical foundation of Scouting is one of the primary reasons the organization has continued to flourish into the 21st century.


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