...by offering a self-sacrifice of time, energy, and/or money for someone.
A man called my cell phone and asked for some diapers for his baby. I hesitated because it is my personal line and I had no idea who he was. But I could tell he just needed a straight answer: “Yes. How exactly may I help you?” The man went on for some time about his family and wife and how no one would help them. The main thing was they just had a new baby and he wanted me to bring him a diaper literally at that moment because he said her diaper was full and they didn’t have anymore. He was asking for help for all kinds of things, from baby items to a job to a better wife! He complained that no churches up to this point had helped him (I take these kinds of laments with a grain of salt because we deal with outlandish request 2-3 times a week. This is part of being downtown).
Anyway, I spoke to him a while and got some basic ideas of how we actually could help him. I relayed this to my wife and she went through our baby pantry at church and selected a few nice items and then went home and grabbed a few more things that would help them, the big one being some formula. Then she went to the store and bought some diapers, too. I assisted in all this and gathered some items as well.
At first I was troubled by the man’s attitude and demanding nature. But then I just chilled and said, “I don’t know who they are or how they got my number but this seems like a good chance to share the love of Christ with a hurting family, regardless of how they act.” After talking with the man with the wet baby, I realized he would not be able to pick anything up so I would also need to bring the items to his house. Here is where it gets weirder: I already had a "man date" scheduled with an atheist friend of mine and it was on the way; so, I went to pick my up atheist friend and then drove off to the full diaper apartment! The cool thing was that my atheist friend got to see an evangelical reach out to a non-Christian non-member family in need.
As I knocked on the door and waited for the man to answer, I was thinking about all these things and at that moment it felt good to be in ministry. The mom/wife answered the door and said the man couldn’t come (I heard him yelling in the other room) but she really appreciated the things I was handing her. I also got to speak with one of her beautiful little children, a boy of about four. That was nice as well because I had my four year old son with me as well and he was able to witness all this.
The next day I followed up with the family and told them my wife and I had bought more things we could get them and they said they would attend service that Sunday and get them. I also explained that we could then speak about where they were with god if they wanted then as well as begin to help put together a practical plan for more long term assistance in their life. But even though the man was grateful on that follow up call on the phone, he never showed up last Sunday and I have not heard back from him. I have since list his number as well. Still, I know we did the right thing in that situation and pray the Lord uses it somehow, even if it was “small”.
*NOTE: some key details have been altered so as to protect everyone's identity but to also relay the gist of the story and my impressions ...
I share this to challenge you to go all out ... acknowledge their humanity. discern their true need. help in the name of Christ. I only did a tad but I could do so much more. so could we all - so let's do it!