Grace in the Unexpected Place

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Matthew 25: 35-36

So today it happened. The thing that I’ve been dreading since I started my first call. The telephone call from someone, stranded in town overnight, needing help. I stalled as long as I could. I spent my lunch hour trying to reach country service organizations that might bail me out. A telephone number that I could give them for assistance without having to commit myself or my church.

Epic fail right? Sounds like I was looking for a easy way out. I’ll own it.

In the end, I couldn’t find one. I did some checking around, and in the end, went with my gut and helped them. They came to the church and as I looked them in the eye, I couldn’t in good conscience turn them away.

The help that they needed really wasn’t that big of a deal. A ride for a couple miles, and the equivalent of a tank of gas.

What got me was the person that I met in the midst.  A local business manager. Three of us stood there for half an hour talking. Talking about Christ. Talking about Grace. Talking about second chances and helping out someone in need. Helping someone else as a way to pay forward the helping hand that was extended our direction at a critical time in the past.

The man in need was rough around the edges, but he was grateful.  The manager I met had his own rough edges, but he also had kindness in his eye and a genuine attitude of caring about people. He’s tough, and he won’t take any crap, but he’s also fair.

In the end, a couple in need got the help they needed.

I offered my small part in it grudgingly, at least grudgingly in my own mind. But in the midst of the moment, God offered me an important lesson in caring for our neighbor. I preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan a few weeks ago.

I wish I’d experienced this before I preached it…but I got the message today God…loud and clear.

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