I’ve been going to a new church. For three weeks now. Last week the pastor spontaneously called a few people forward, anointed them with oil and prayed for them. Two of the few were a couple, the woman’s father died that week and they were grieving. Another was a man who had just been released from prison. The pastor prayed a fresh, healthy, not-going-back start over him. It was beautiful. The fourth was a woman who lost her home and is living in a shelter.
When the hub and I walked into church yesterday, I spotted C – whom I had chatted with last week – sitting in the last pew. I touched her shoulder as I walked by and said hello. ‘Cuz I think we might become friends.
At the start of the service, the pastor walked down the aisle with two envelopes in his hand. As he walked, he shared that there were some who gave offerings for C after he prayed for her last week. After they became aware of her need. He stopped in front of her in that last pew and handed her the envelopes. She reached out and humbly took them without a word. Her face registered gratitude. It registered the love that was in those envelopes.
Darn it, I thought, I wish it had occurred to me to actually help her when I was chatting with her. On the way home the hub shared the very same thought.
Live, learn and love.
We’ll be ready next time.
And that’s what church is all about, Charlie Brown. The Holy Spirit spurring you on toward love and good deeds.
The pastor said something brilliant in his sermon. He said that when it comes to helping people, we often hope someone else will do it. When we come upon a person or a group with a need we ask, “Why doesn’t someone…”
But if we come upon a $100 bill on the ground, we don’t walk past it and ask, “Why doesn’t someone pick that up?!” We stoop down, grab it and shove it in our pocket. (Or turn it in to the police station and shove it in our pocket 30 days later if we are an honorable human being.) We scoop it up because we recognize its worth.
The pastor’s point: The need we come upon, the need we have the privilege of meeting, is worth more. We come upon treasure when we see a need.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Jesus
I should end this post right here, give Jesus the last word. Instead I’m going to go political for just a sec.
The stereotype I hear all the time is that Democrats care about the poor and needy and Republicans don’t. I could write a whole post refuting that notion, and perhaps as the general election draws nearer I will.
Today I just want to point out that insisting the government take care of the needy is the equivalent of asking “Why doesn’t someone….” It’s hoping someone else will do it. It’s being comfortable with not doing anything yourself because the government is taking care of it.
I don’t want the government to take care of it. I want to do it. I want the church to do it.
Fellow Christian bloggers lament on Sunday mornings that people aren’t going to church. If the government wasn’t doing our job they would.
The needy would go to church to get their needs met. Those who are not currently needy would go to church to find treasure. To look into needy faces and find Jesus.
Jump right in.