Steve Sikes, a family life minister in Pitman, NJ, told an interesting story in a bulletin article recently. He wrote about an eleven-year-old boy who received three umbrellas for Christmas. The gift may seem odd, but the reason was that a couple months before he and his mother had been traveling down the highway in a heavy rain. The boy saw a man walking in the rain, and he asked his mom if they could stop and give the man a ride. The mother explained that it was not safe to pick up strangers, even if it was raining. Her son responded, “Well, then can’t we turn around and give him our umbrella?” So, an eleven-year-old boy got what he wanted for Christmas: a service project.
Isn’t that amazing? We drive by people walking in the rain because of fear, but an eleven-year-old boy can come up with a solution.
One of my teachers at preaching school used to like to say, “Don’t get paralysis from analysis.” His point was that we can get so bogged down in trying to figure out God’s will for our lives, and so afraid that we will get it wrong, that we end up doing nothing. We freeze because of fear.
We do this a lot when it comes to service. We don’t know if we should give money to that homeless man with a sign because we are afraid he might spend it on drugs or alcohol. So, we don’t do anything. We are not sure picking up the man walking in the rain is safe. So, we don’t do anything.
Lee Camp discussed this in his book Mere Discipleship. Lee explained that the kingdom we Christians are a part of has relevant, impacting things to offer society, but that we tend to shy away from acting because we don’t believe it or because we don’t know what to do. He then quotes Bill Tibert, a Presbyterian minister, who addressed the problem of abortion and what Christians should do about it. Here is what Tibert said,
“Let me ask you: Which has greater power? Ten thousand people who fill the streets in front of abortion clinics and shame those seeking abortions, or ten thousand people in California who take to the state capital a petition they have signed stating they will take any unwanted child of any age, any color, any physical condition so that they can love that child in the name of Jesus Christ?”
Doesn’t that sound like a solution? The kind of solution Jesus would applaud? Are you ready to do it?
Jesus said, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matt 5:42); “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matt 7:12); and “whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:27-28).
We cannot let fear, or apathy, or pride, or greed get in the way of the one thing we can be absolutely sure Jesus wants from us: service. Don’t be frozen by problems, but strive for solutions. If you are going to err, then err on the side of generosity. Resolve to be accused of being too generous, too servant-hearted, and too selfless. Above all, don’t do nothing.
What solutions do you have?