The Gospel According to an Enneagram Two

Being a Two (“The Helper”), of course I said yes when Drew asked me to write for this series, despite the fact that I’m neither a writer nor an expert on the Enneagram. However, I do love when science and religion so perfectly come together to enhance our overall health.

Healthy Twos are compassionate, unselfish, and generous. Sincere in their love for others, they focus on a life of service and encouragement. In truth, however, most helpers have ulterior motives. Although some suppress the knowledge, most Twos are aware that gratitude or repayment makes them feel whole. At unhealthy levels, they are aggressive and instill guilt in others until an emotional debt is repaid.

For me, the result looks something like this: I’m scrolling through Facebook and read a post about a friend going through a rough patch. This is a friend I have not interacted with in years but her needs are ones I can help with! She’s taking care of a friend’s baby while her friend is in the hospital. This woman is so selfless to help her friend but she could use some help herself with childcare. I insert myself into the situation (which in and of itself is a debatable choice) and offer to keep the baby for a few hours. She agrees and, the next day, drops the baby off at my home while she runs errands. I’m thrilled! I’m helping! I take pics of the baby and post them on Facebook to make sure everyone knows about my generous service. My friend is late to pick the baby up and she doesn’t even seem that grateful for my help. She barely says thanks before leaving again. I have three kids and am over-involved and over-scheduled. Now, I’m late to pick up my daughter, and all my good intentions are gone. I feel resentful toward my friend, even though I was the one who reached out to her. Worst of all, I’m not giving an ounce of glory or service to God. What just happened?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches about the overarching desire of Twos: giving to the needy. “Oh hey, that’s me,” I would have thought to myself in that crowd, sitting up a little straighter. “Wonder what he’s going to say about how great I am for that!”

Jesus: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1, ESV).

“Wait, what? I’ve been giving my every minute to help others like Jesus does and this is what he has to say about it?”

This passage is a wake-up call for me every time I read it. If I’m honest, when I make an anonymous donation, I tell my husband. When I pay for someone’s coffee behind me in the drive-thru, I fit it into a story to a friend. When I send a fun surprise package to a baby shower for a friend who’s adopting, I make sure to call her mother and tell her about it…you know…to make sure it arrived. I would like to think that when I give, I do so selflessly. But that’s very rarely the case. Recognition and gratitude are often the “why,” and that’s a sin.

In Matthew 6:2, Jesus tells us that when you display your gifts to others, that’s all the praise you’re going to get: “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

The good news for us Helpers is that there is a huge reward to be had. Jesus instructs us, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (6:3-4). Helpers love others but I love my God a lot more. I trust that when God tells me God is going to reward me in heaven for my service on earth, it’s going to be infinitely better than praise from another sinful human like me.

We’re in good company. Pope John XXII, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and even Stevie Wonder are all Twos. Sometimes I like to think that Jesus is a Two, with all that saving, healing, feeding, and wine-giving. That guy was a giver. And his motives were completely singular: to bring people to know his Father, the only One worthy of praise and glory. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could use our generous nature, given to us by God, to win love for God instead of ourselves? That gets me way more excited than a thank-you note. (And don’t forget about the added bonus of treasure in heaven.)

Giving to the needy is good. I could find plenty of passages in the Bible about caring for “the least of these” and “giving to the poor.” Even the greatest commandments call us to love, including our neighbors. As Helpers, we have been given the amazing gifts of huge hearts, open hands, and generous spirits. Praise God! We have to remember that God blesses us with those qualities and God should be receiving the return.

By helping those who most need it and by doing so humbly, without any hope of worldly rewards, we are fulfilling God’s plans for our lives. This is the way our light shines brightly. We’re being fishers of people. I can’t think of a better way to be helpers for the Lord.

Lauren Clark is from Lakeland, Florida and is a stay-at-home mom of three. She earned a Master’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina.

Find other posts in this series here.

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