Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stop And Look Around, Someone's In Need

I don't know about you but my life is speeding by at warp speed. I have what seems to be million things on my to do list and only 24 hours in each day to get them done. Somehow, I think if I had 72 hours in my day I would somehow manage to need a few hours more. Lets face it, most of us live very busy lives. We've got work to do, a mortgage to pay, housework to do, yard work to do, children to take care of, shopping to get done, baseball or ballet practice to get our kids to, phone calls to make, people to text, emails to send, and on and on the list goes. And just when we think we've got a handle on it all, little Johnny decides he wants to play football this year, or little Jennie wants to join the swim team.

Life at warp speed! That's what it often feels like. And, sitting down and taking a breath only happens when we manage to put it on the calendar. I'm not sure if its good or bad, but its definitely become the way so many of us do life. Last week, I had a lot going on. My schedule was crazy and I was busy trying to get everything done that I needed to get done. Somewhere in the middle of all that was going on, my wife asks me if I had seen what had happened in Alabama and some other states in the south. I told her that all I knew was that some tornadoes had hit the area. Several times that week she mentioned to me that she wanted us to do something to help. "Maybe we can load up our car full of supplies and drive there," she said. "If all we do is load up our car with bottled water, that's the least we can do."

As I listened to her, I thought to myself there's a lot on my plate right now and I can't just stop and take a trip to Alabama. Of course, I still had no idea as to the severity of the destruction having not watched the news coverage. Then, finally on Saturday I sat down for a few minutes and began watching some news coverage of areas hit by the tornadoes. I remember being brought to tears as I watched one story after another. As I sat there, I couldn't help but think how unimportant my to-do list was compared to the devastation that had hammered that region of our country. I couldn't help but think how sad it was that I had been so caught up in my world that I hadn't even given these people a thought.

How many times do we do that? We have this mind set that tornadoes hit places all the time. And if its not tornadoes then its hurricanes or floods or earthquakes. We hear all the disasters that hit around the world and I think we often get to a place where we are just thankful its not us. Of course, we feel sorry for those having to deal with it, but how often are we moved to action? Perhaps we say a little prayer and talk about it with our friends and family but how often are we so moved by the hurt and hopelessness of others that we jump up to the plate to do something?

Certainly there is something each one of us can do. Several years ago there was a house near us that was being built. The foundation was poured and the frame was up. Apparently there was an issue with the foundation and the framing had to be taken down. The lumber sat there for months. My then 4 year old son who had on his own sent money to help to a ministry to build water wells and homes in third world countries had a great idea. "Dad, why don't we give that wood to the mailman to take to Mr. James on TV. That way he can build more homes for those kids who don't have a home."

Ok, so maybe we can't give lumber to the mailman, but certainly there is something that each of us can do. Maybe all we can do is spare $10. That'll buy a couple cases of water. Maybe all we can do is go through our closet and fill up a box or two of clothes to give to those whose closets were blown into the next county. Maybe all we can do is fill up a couple of ziploc bags with toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, etc. Perhaps, you can afford to buy some towels or bedding and send to those who need them. Maybe you can give a weeks vacation to go and spend time there helping that community clean up the wreckage and rebuild.

My 8-year-old and 5 year-old went through their closet a couple of days ago and picked out clothes and toys that they want to give to children who have lost everything. Needless to say, we are way passed loading up our car as we now have moved to filling up a trailer. I'm just thinking each one of us, regardless of where we find ourselves in life can do something.

Saturday as I sat there watching that news coverage, I repented of being so self-consumed as to not hear the cries of those in need. I grabbed my computer and determined to connect with a local church there who is already engaged in ministering to that community. Through my communication with them I've discovered a snapshot of the need there. That snapshot alone is overwhelming. Both individually and as a church we have determined to do whatever we can to bring help and hope to people who desperately need it.

Yes, part of that means interrupting our calendars momentarily. It means giving of ourselves and giving of our stuff. I've just come to the realization that if my calendar and my to-do list is so important as to render me deaf to the cries of those in need, perhaps my calendar needs an overhaul. And if my bank account can't cough up a few bucks to help then my spending habits need an overhaul.

As I'm writing this today, the words to a song I've recently heard keep playing in my head. "Cause I don't want to live like I don't care, I don't want to say another empty prayer. Oh, I refuse, to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself. Oh, I could choose not to move, but I refuse" The truth is we often see tragedies like this and figure someone else will help, and they do. I'm just not ok with living life like that. Trust me, if all of us engaged in helping somehow and someway, there is plenty of need to go around. If you want to know how you can help, give me shout.

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