Today one of our church members had a heart attack while working in her yard. One of the first things she asked for when she came out of surgery was for someone to go finish cutting up a fallen tree so that her husband wouldn't do it.
Understand, in ministry, we often see people with needs that can't be met or needs that can't be met right now. Often we find out after the fact that the church missed an opportunity to help someone who was in genuine need. It causes a lot of disappointment, not only for the people unhelped, but for those who would like to help.
Today, everything fell into place perfectly. Joe S. was already at the hospital with me and Dale D. received the request for help at his home computer. In ten minutes, the three of us were in her back yard cutting up tree branches and picking up the mess. In thirty minutes we were done. Meanwhile, Chris C. got her husband a late lunch and Ashley T. went to the house and let the dog out, loaded their dishwasher, put the clothes in the dryer, and gathered some personal items for the hospital stay. Many others called and visited the hospital room to express their concern. It was a beautiful display of Christian love.
But why did it work out so nicely this time and not other times? Part of it was timing. If you're going to have an emergency, do it on a clear day in the middle of the day when absolutely nothing else is happening. Part of it was proximity. She was local, had her heart attack at home, and went to the local hospital just down the street. Part of it was communication. Her husband let us know immediately. She identified her needs as soon as possible, so we knew how we could help. And finally, part of it was example. This lady is one of the most consistent examples in our church of someone who works hard and eagerly helps others. She visits hospitals and attends funerals and labors at work days, usually without any recognition. As a minister, I'm happy to help anyone (even those who don't want it), but it puts an extra skip in your step to help a saint you know has eagerly helped so many others.
So often you say, "Let us know if there's anything we can do," and usually there's not anything to do. But today it worked out beautifully and it couldn't have been more enjoyable to see God's people eagerly helping each other.