This last week, I was with a family member doing the “Walmart shuffle,” meaning another trip to the “big box” supercenter. On our way out of the parking lot, there was a middle aged woman of Indian (looking) descent standing on a grassed area just before the main exit. She had her children with her, and was holding a sign saying “Help us please.” Seeing people standing in that area looking for help is hard to pass by as it were, but her standing there with her school aged kids, seeing her having to ask strangers for help was a definite tug on the heart. We gave what we could, and were on our way.
I must also mention that in my observations of this dilemma, she happened to be “well along” with a fourth child, at least in to her 7th or 8th month. Anyone that has been through tough times, and I can say that I have been included in this field, knows that you will do whatever it takes to help your family. It can be a humbling experience, and if you come through it, can be an educational lesson for all those involved in your close circle of family and friends.
This “Superstore interaction” stayed in the periphery of my mind even through this day, (being Sunday, August 14th of 2022), so when my wife and I were watching the morning preachers on TV, I managed to glean a “keeper” moment before going to our church. Dr. David Jeremiah was speaking on Christians doing the right thing and listening to their hearts (with regards to helping those less fortunate). He called this tugging of the heart thing that hits a special place in your mind “tender mercies.”
Later on in the morning, as our preacher, Mr. Dale Wise, was speaking on the subject of personal responsibility in evangelism, he mentioned that the biggest area that people see the love of God, and the teaching of Jesus Christ and his disciples, is through our actions with those that we come in contact with. This got me thinking of not only the woman on the Walmart parking lot, but the many other unfortunate souls that for some reason have fallen on very difficult times.
On the way out of the main sanctuary area, I gazed over toward the main double doored north entrance, and there was a bag of cans left on top of this nicely constructed wooden box. Those cans are for our ministry of food supply headed up by a woman named Allison Murphy, and these items go to Jericho Road Ministries. I thought that this also was a good thing that we were doing, but that this deed in itself was not merely enough. You see, The Lord on this day has not only impressed on me the need to pay attention to those in our community that require His “tender mercies,” but He also (again) reminded me that if I have the ability to help in any other special way, that I have the RESPONSIBILITY to do so. He “nudged” my mind with a thought – “By the way, I have given you the gift of writing,” so this opine before your eyes now has more purpose!
When I mentioned to Ms. Murphy of my intent to do a story on the importance of helping the needy, I asked her if I could get a picture of her standing next to the food mission receiving box by the doors. Upon completion of this “photo shoot,” I asked her what her official ministry name was. She said that she had not really taken the time to think of any special catchy name, but if I thought of one, to go ahead and put a name to her ministry. Now, this is not going to be my doing, as it is her labor of love, but I must admit, that many months ago when she stood up right after the service to make a plea for donations of soup and veggie cans, I quipped in behind her plea and told the congregants “you need to get your cans to church!! Being a harmonica player, and part of the praise band, the temptation to use the microphone right in front of me kind of got the best of me. (And yes, I got “the raised eyebrow” from the minister that day!) Now let’s get serious here. If we can afford to read this paper, we can afford to help someone (or some family) in hard times, if just by kind words and a loaf of bread. These may be small gifts coming from us, but may be big blessings to the receiver. You never know if or when it may be your turn to be on the needing “side of the road!”