Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
We didn’t really know what to expect. After the storm was over, Hurricane Arthur had done some damage but nothing terribly extensive. I had been staying with some friends and their trampoline suffered damage. Everything else were just broken branches.
I had gotten up early that morning to drive to the beach and survey the damage in other ares but didn’t really see too much aside from a few broken business signs. The beach was pounding with strong waves but the sky was really clear.
About the time I was leaving the beach area, I received a call from my mom asking me if I could help a mutual friend of ours who attends the Korean Church. She’s a widow and at home by herself. She had a downed tree and a little bit of roof damage, (a shingle had blown off). I told her I’d take the two interns and go over and see what we could do.
When I arrived to pick up the interns, I mentioned to my friend that we were heading over to Beaufort to do some work on a friend of my mom’s house and she told me that there was a friend of hers that had a lot of work he was doing on his house. Evidently, the storm had really blown a lot of branches and debris around in his yard. So I got his address and told her that we would swing by there too in order to help.
Trevor, Jan and I made our way over to Mrs. Kim’s house. Once there, we did some fairly easy clean-up, moving some branches, picking up pears, replacing the shingle and applying some tar sealant around an air vent that was leaking. We were there for less than an hour but just from that little bit of work, we were able to put her mind at ease as she was preparing to leave for Korea in a couple weeks. It blessed her but it was a bigger blessing to us. She donated some money and even though I resisted the offer several times, she would not be denied! She gave us the gift and we gratefully accepted. It paid for our lunch that day!
Having no idea what to expect next, we made our way to the other guys’ house. I know this guy a little bit, just meeting him causally a couple times. I had no real meter on his spiritual level or regard to Christ, although I did feel pretty confident he had at least grown-up in church or been exposed at some point in his life. I also knew that at this point in his life, it seemed he was not very involved in church or engaged in a purposeful relationship with Christ. Nonetheless, we didn’t go to evangelize or proselyte per se. We went to serve. We went to help someone in need. We went to be a friend.
Pulling into the driveway, he was pulling some branches and as I exited the car, I yelled his name and announced our intention to help him out. He said: “I’m sure as Hell not gonna stop you!” We got out and started pulling branches and limbs to the front of the house as he cursed each one we grabbed. We worked and chatted about storms, about his property and life on the east coast of NC. After moving a significant amount of rubbish, we raked up, scooped up and piled up bunches of pine cones and needles.
Just before we left, he shared with us about the lady next door who seemed to be out of town because she had not been seen since the storm and there was a good amount of debris in her yard. Assuming she wasn’t home, we jumped over to her yard, moved a few large limbs and then some smaller ones. With those tasks completed, we began with our good-byes. We shook hands with our acquaintance who was very appreciative and then left.
Now, I shared all of that to get to this point. We served a couple of people for a few hours max. It wasn’t hard work but necessary work. It wasn’t meant to be glamorous or anything really more than friendly with the hope that Christ would be glorified in our actions. We didn’t promote ourselves or any church. We didn’t talk about anything deep or spiritual for that matter. All we did was serve, BUT it made a HUGE DIFFERENCE!
Since that time, that guy we helped, has told my friend over and over how nice it was to have had the help. He spoke of how uncommon it was for people to just reach out, accept nothing in return and then just leave. He simply couldn’t believe that we would do what we did. My friend wrote me and said that this guy was so touched by our helping him out that day impacted him so much that he decided to go to church, which he had not done in more than 20 years! (Now he has gone twice! And once by himself to a new church!) He has been listening to a Christian radio station and to some Joyce Myers audio. It’s just amazing what God can do through a simple act of kindness to show someone his incredible love like a hurricane! Keep praying for him and that God continues to reveal his love and power. And remember that the way God may do it most is through your reaching out in love to another.
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA as the mission/creative pastor.