In its exact wording, the proverb ‘God helps those who help themselves’ originates with Algernon Sidney. Sidney was an English political theorist, and his words were later quoted (and made more famous) by Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century.
However, the sentiment behind this proverb is a much more ancient one. For example, in the writings of the Greek dramatist Sophocles, we can find the idea that ‘God helps those who dare’.
Later, theological writers, such as George Herbert in the early – mid seventeenth century, also explored this idea.
The proverb “‘God helps those who help themselves’, means that “people who work hard and take responsibility for their lives will receive additional help from God in the form of good luck or opportunity.”
The proverb inspires us to be accountable and responsible for the results of our actions. It motivates us stay active and keep working towards our goals in life.
This proverb means that:
- if a person starts to help themselves, then God will also come to their aid,
- prayers helps only when one is willing to put efforts to come out of the adversity,
- people who take initiatives to things of their own, are more likely to be successful,
- people themselves are responsible and accountable for the outcome or result of their works.
- people who rely solely on luck and stay inactive are the ones who seldom get lucky enough to achieve something meaningful,
- instead of delaying things and blaming luck one should prepare oneself well, and then act vigorously,
- people who procrastinate miss the opportunities and do not get success.
God may come to our aid automatically, or we may have to ask for God’s help when we are already helping our-self, i.e., giving our best efforts.
The ‘God’ in this proverb can be the God of any religion. As has been demonstrated by the discussion of the proverb’s origin, the proverb was applicable as much to the lives of the polytheistic ancient Greeks as it was to the lives of Christian writers such as George Herbert. As such, this is a very flexible proverb, and anyone who believes in any kind of higher power can relate to it.
Many people prefer to stay lazy and keep postponing things. They do nothing and simply blame luck for their failures. They think that some divine power will solve all of their problems automatically. However, this proverb emphasis on the importance taking proper actions in-order to achieve the desired result.
A student’s prayer for good result will be fruitful only when he has prepared himself well for the examination. Similarly, an athlete’s prayer for medals can be manifested, if he had put in immense effort during the practice sessions.
God will give us immense opportunities, but if we are have not prepared ourselves well, then we may not be able to fully utilize the opportunity.
Similar proverb: Self help is the best help.
1. Motivation: the proverb is a great thing to remember if we want to get started with our projects. It suggests that we need to first start helping ourselves if we want our projects to succeed!
2. A prayer: this proverb can also be used as a prayer, asking for God’s help. It can be useful to have a set form of words like this ready to hand when praying.
3. Rewarding hard work: this proverb recognizes the importance of hard work as it suggests that God values people’s efforts to help themselves.
4. Hope: ‘God helps those who help themselves’ can also give us hope as it suggests that if we start to help ourselves, we can also count on God’s additional help.
5. Taking responsibility: this is a proverb that encourages us to take responsibility for our actions and to work to make positive change in our lives rather than simply waiting for change to happen.
6. A reminder to care for ourselves: this proverb reminds us to take care of ourselves, whether that means ensuring that we have enough rest at night or getting help when we are feeling down.
7. An expression of religious feeling: this proverb is important to many people who are religious because it expresses their trust that God will help them.
‘God helps those who help themselves’ is a proverb that celebrates the value of hard work, of taking responsibility for our actions, and of taking care of ourselves. As such, it is a brilliant proverb to remember whenever we are starting out on a new project, or whenever we find ourselves putting off chores, or work, or looking after our own selves. In addition, this proverb can keep people motivated when they are in the midst of a project.
All in all, ‘God helps those who helps themselves’ can be applied to numerous different contexts. We might use it to remind a stressed out friend to take some time out to pamper themselves. Or, we might use it to motivate ourselves to find a job and start making a living for ourselves. This is a proverb that encourages positive action that will change the world.
Read more in Wikipedia.