From time to time and probably more than I like to admit I am humbled and left in awe by fellow Christians. The Ebola epidemic has humbled me. Missionaries are on the front lines once again. They along with other medical personnel are putting their lives on the line. Meanwhile I worry about catching a common cold from a coughing congregant. They humble me. I stand in awe.
We need to lift up these modern day champions of the faith in prayer. They remind me of selfless stories through the ages. Christians responding to social ills instead of running away have been the norm through the ages. They sacrificed. They put their lives on the line. They lived their faith.
Running to the front of the line is not for everybody. Even the military has special troops designed to answer emergencies and hold the line till support arrives. It is clear the Scriptures teach that there are different gifts for us.
However, there is a way of life that we as Christians are called. I was reminded of it this past week while riding a horse with a name…Cinnamon.
My family was on vacation in the mountains this past week. We decided to go horseback riding. Don’t laugh. Yes, I got up on a horse. Getting up wasn’t the bad part…getting down was.
We drove up a dirt road expecting to come across a healthy farm with white fences and big barns. Instead we came across a beaten trailer with a spot-a-pot out front. The horses looked very healthy. The more we looked around the more amazed we became at the living conditions or the owner and his family. I will admit, I almost told the family to get back in the van.
Out came the owner and his daughter to lead our trip. He was one of the nicest and gentlest guys I have ever met. From what we could gather from the various conversations humbled me the second time in one week. I of all people should know that we are not to “judge a book by its cover.”
He had 35 horses six years ago. The downturned economy that still exists in the Appalachians has caused him to sell all but 11. It is clear he takes very good care of his horses. His family is struggling. His wife has been very sick. She recently came home from the hospital. He is doing what he can do to hold things together hoping that soon…the vacationers return.
Not only did he lead our trip up the mountain and back down he personally hitched my 5-year-old granddaughters horse to his and made sure she had a glorious first horseback ride. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer and more considerate guy to take care of her. Oh, he looked rough…real rough. Like Samuel said when looking for the man to take King Saul’s place…”man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.”
So…what is the call? How do we minister to this hard working struggling man? It really isn’t that hard. My wife and I didn’t have a chance to talk about it, but we were thinking the same thing…a really big tip. He only charged us $25 a person. A normal tip would be $2.50 to $5 a person. Forget standard thinking. The man was in need. I’m not going to boast about what we did. What would you do?
Every day we meet people in need. I’m not asking everyone to run to tragedies or medical disasters. I do believe Jesus taught us that when a brother asks for a loaf of bread to not give him a stone. He also said that when a brother asks for a coat, to give him two of them. The gospel expression comes in many forms. Yes, there is a vocal form that is needed. However, it is better received when gospel living backs it.
Take a look around this week. We don’t have to go to the mountains to find a need. We don’t have to go on vacation to find a gospel expression. As more and more people don’t trust the organized church we will have to take the gospel to them. It might start with a decent tip.
By the way…if you can’t find a person in need…check out a lot of single mom waitresses in our restaurants. I know they could use a helping hand. Maybe if we follow the lead of missionaries answering the Ebola crisis our world will once again be receptive to the good news of Jesus who gave more than we could ever ask…his life for ours.