I am part of the 911 emergency WhatsApp group on our street. At 20:40 last night, my phone went off as I was writing yesterday’s note. A lady up the road was hearing noises like the roof of her lounge being removed. Her husband was not at home. Her emergency message was for help. I got there first with my strong “searchlight” and could not find anything on the roof. Another four men arrived, one with a serious weapon. We searched on the roof, around the house, in the trees, on the garage and over the walls. Nothing could be found. What I was impressed with was that the men responded with minutes, checked the compete area and found that the most likely scenario is that there was either a cat crawling on the roof or rats crawling in or on the roof. There was an immediate response by men to help a woman at home alone with her children … and in need. Although we found nothing, she now knows she can depend upon some of the men in our street to come to her assistance when in need. This would be true for anyone in our street.
This makes me think of the Christian Church and her responsibility towards the Body when in need. In the Early Church, soon after the Ascension and the Coming of the Spirit, we read:
Ac 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
These Christians were “one in heart and mind.” This is extremely helpful because it speaks to oneness in the Gospel cause. In Christ, we are one … we belong together. What we believe and have experienced make us one … we are now of the same eternal family, having been washed in the same blood, having our names written in the same citizenship register of heaven.
To the Romans, Paul writes:
Ro 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Paul is addressing the sharing of spiritual gifts to meet the needs within the community of saints, and he reminds them that every believer belongs to every believer! That is, we have a responsibility towards each other and we are accountable to each other. Caring, sharing, providing, loving, praying, encouraging … the list is endless. The Body of Christ needs to care for each other because in caring for each other we are caring for ourselves as individuals and ourselves as a collective.
Although under level 3 lockdown we have limited freedom of movement, we are still able to help our beloved in Christ who are in need by being innovative. Here are five ideas …
First, everyone is able to pray for the needs one might have. To pray means those in need need to share their problems, difficulties and urgencies with those within the body they are able to trust and confide in. Prayer can happen at a distance. We don’t need to be together physically.
Second, when someone struggles financially because of matters outside of their control, others in the Body who are able could consider assisting through transferring money to them or to the source of the need. This does not mean you do not need to check the authenticity of the need … but meeting the need shows you identify as one belonging to others in the Body.
Third, to help with cabin fever, you could telephone, SMS, email, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, FaceTime, Messenger, Instagram, Skype or Zoom a brother or sister in Christ. A Scripture of encouragement shared; a note of love to bless; a video or audio chat of comfort. Technology is going to be the new norm for the next few months and maybe longer.
Fourth, love gifts could be a wonderful expression of love. A lady who receives this note had made some peanut brittle and biscuits. She called to say that on her travels to the shop she’ll drop off some of these for us. What a blessing of luxury. No contact is necessary. Social distancing can be practiced.
Finally, you can give advice. Another lady assisted me with advice this past week. I needed a rubber stamp for stamping the week’s marriage register and certificate. She provided me with the contact details of someone she had make a stamp for me some ten plus years ago. I did not have to hunt for a supplier. Her supplier actually manufactured the stamp for me in time for the wedding.
Dear God, thank You for adding me to Your Eternal Family. Thank You that You made each one to belong to each other. Help me to find ways of being a practical help to bless Your Family. Amen.