The other day, while walking the dog, I stopped and talked to a neighbor who was diligently working on removing a mailbox post that had been knocked down by a car. He was furiously working that post-hole digger trying to free the cement casing holding the old post so he could put in a new one. We talked for a bit then I moved along with these parting words, “Have fun.” As I continued on my walk, I thought to myself, “How stupid was that? Have fun! What kind of fun is there in digging almost hopelessly in the hard clay trying to free a cement casing you jerk?” So having thoroughly chastised myself, I turned around, went back and apologized for my lack of caring and asked what I could do to help. That’s what neighbors do. They don’t just leave someone with “Have fun”, they offer to help.
It’s unfortunate but at times I think we take for granted the support available through a faith community and family. Their consistency in our life often leads us to look past their ability and willingness to love and support others in a time of need. We may hear them/us talk of needs or pray for concerns but never really see anything tangible happening.
During the recent experiences with my surgery and my wife’s heart surgery we have come to understand, appreciate, and truly see the value of a faith community and family. We have seen their love and care in action and it has been amazing. People we barely know reaching out to us and offering help, prayer, and providing meals has left us with a sense of amazement of how the family of God cares for its own and reaches out in times of need. The overwhelming support and encouragement from family members has pushed our hearts to the point of overflowing. It truly has been marvelous.
Quite candidly we knew the support network was there all along and we’ve heard of it expressing itself in the lives of others, but up until now we’ve really not been on the receiving end. Yet isn’t that what a faith community and family is all about? Shouldn’t we rely on those in touch with our lives to provide the support and encouragement we need, at a time of need, in order to keep our own faith stoked and flames burning brightly? Shouldn’t we allow their love to take action? Shouldn’t we allow faith to be a verb?
Jesus was a man of action. He didn’t just look and say “How sad, I’ll pray for you”. He looked and said “Do you want to be made well?” and then did what needed to be done to meet the person’s need. He looked at the hungry crowd and said “Give them something to eat.” He watched the mad man struggle against the spiritual and physical chains that bound him then loved him and set him free “clothed and in his right mind.” Jesus showed us how to love through action.
That’s what we’ve seen through our faith community and family – the love of God in action. We are so thankful and blessed.