Every now and again God moves when you’re not paying a great deal of attention. This was the case week before last, when a member inquired about the possibility of one of our missional teams building a ramp for a critically ill neighbor. The need was acute so the request was made and within a short amount of time a team was assembled for the following Saturday. It was amazingly hot, but hey, it’s July so roll with it, right? Miss Grace lives with Miss Alma in Sugar Hill in a house on a long, rolling lot that rolls and slopes the wrong way for handicap access. Her screen door also opened out rather than in, which for a theology guy would have gone unnoticed, which is but one of the reasons they do not allow me to go near the tools! No obstacle, however, for the JCBC team; re-hang the door and totally redesign the norm for a ramp. Bingo! Miss Grace no longer has to be carried from her home to the car when she needs to be seen by her physician.
Actually our church does this kind of thing several times each year, but this one was different, very different in fact. Various county agencies, or nonprofit groups often ask us, and believe it or not, there are times we do not meet the persons for which we provide these services. We did meet Miss Grace and Miss Alma, and for that, I am quite grateful. I went in to say hi and to have prayer with her and she quickly pointed out that she wasn’t a church member and was amazed that a group of strangers would do this for her. Her neighbors are the McIlrath’s so I told her that if she is friends with them, she is friends with us, plus, this isn’t a church member thing, it’s a Jesus thing. Obviously I’m oversimplifying it, but Jesus gave us our marching orders before there was a church to be a member of. Helping Miss Grace is part of who and what we are in Christ. There are times I allow theology to cloud the sheer simplicity of what I am called to do and be…but thanks to ladies like Miss Grace…and the inevitable intersection of Providence and Opportunity…I am humbly reminded!
Just so no one gets the wrong idea, I do little to no actual work on these projects. I couldn’t build a ramp if I had to, so I steer clear of the technical side. I can go to the store if I have a list, well it needs to be a very detailed list, and truth be told they don’t let me do that either, so I do a little pastoring here and there and try to stay out of the way. The people who need to be applauded from time to time are the people who give up several weekends each year to make sure needy people have ramps to maneuver in and out of their homes. These are the people who are living out the commands of James 1 where we are told that true, pure and faultless faith is demonstrated in taking care of widows and orphans in their distress. This is missional ministry in the trenches and JCBC mobilizes into action almost weekly to do these very things. Thanks to those who serve without being seen…you make us proud!
Johns Creek Baptist Church