A friend of mine shared a touching story of boots-on-the-ground love. Fred was a pastor at a large church. A fringe couple in his church was very needy and often came to the church asking for financial aid. Both parents were disabled, though ambulatory, and they had two teenage kids who were following in their parents’ footsteps.
Late one Thursday afternoon, the husband called Fred announcing that they had to vacate the house they were renting by that weekend. He had reserved a U-Haul truck and they had another house they could move into on the other side of town. Wanting to minister to this needy couple, Fred told him he’d try to muster a moving crew to show up on Saturday and help them move. But it was summer, and no matter who he called, Fred couldn’t find anyone who was available to help. Fred confesses that he was becoming less and less excited about helping this family move. Furthermore, based on his history with this couple, Fred wanted to establish some boundaries. He asked that the family have everything packed in boxes so that when the crew showed up on Saturday morning, they could simply load the truck and make the move. The couple assured him this would be done and kept saying that they didn’t own much. Meanwhile, Fred kept calling for volunteers and by Friday evening, he had only found two other helpers and they wouldn’t be available until mid-morning on Saturday. On Saturday morning, Fred was not looking forward to spending his day moving this family, especially since he knew the burden of the work would fall on him.
Sustained by Love
When he arrived at the couple’s home at 7am, it took him several minutes pounding on the front door before he could rouse anyone—they were still all in bed! When the dad finally came to the door and let Fred in, Fred looked around in horror. Nothing was packed and the family were hoarders. It was impossible to distinguish between their trash and their belongings. The dad suggested they go get the truck first, so they drove to U-Haul. But when they got there, they discovered that it wouldn’t be open for another 45 minutes. By now, Fred was seething inside! He felt taken advantage of, lied to, and manipulated. However, as the two of them sat in his car, the Lord spoke to Fred and prompted him to ask this man to tell him his story. While they waited, this man poured out his heartbreaking story and the Lord filled Fred’s heart with compassion for him and his family. The move was fraught with difficulties and took them two full days. But because of the love that God poured into Fred’s heart, the Lord sustained him with joy and Fred could count it a privilege to have been worthy of serving this family.
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21
Personal Application: Who in your life do you find it difficult to love? Imagine Jesus sitting down with that person and getting to know them. What would Jesus say and do in that situation? Now ask the Lord for the grace to do the same with that individual you find it hard to love.
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5