2010-10-12 - First Responders
In many communities across the US (and possibly other countries; I'm not familiar with that info), "first responders" rush to emergency incidents, to provide assistance to victims. In our county, the first responders are firefighters/Emergency Medical Technicians. But in the church, ALL of us who are believers should be God's "first responders."
When we see or hear of a need, whether local, national or international, we should first respond by immediately praying for those who need it. We need to be praying for folks in our community when a home burns down, when someone is a victim of crime, when there is a motor vehicle accident, or in any need - or even when a lambasted player from our hometown team makes seven errors in eight games, five being during division playoffs (he IS human and deserves our understanding and compassion). When we read or hear about the Chilean miners who have been trapped for several months, we should pray for them and their loved ones. I like what the renowned evangelist / college founder Dwight Moody once said, that he would pray with the Bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray continually. (NIV)
But though prayer is our most vital response, we should also help "in kind," when we are able - whether it means taking GOOD CONDITION* clothes to a clothing closet, giving money through our churches, or some other trustworthy organization - or however the Lord leads us.
And when we are physically able, we need to follow in the footsteps of Christ our Lord, as well as an early Victim Advocate, who has come to be known as the "Good Samaritan," who interrupted his journey and schedule, to assist a robbery victim. Please see Luke 10:29-37 in your favorite Bible Version.
I encourage you (along with myself) to ask God to guide us in our "first responses" to those in need.
*I emphasized "good condition" clothes, because as someone who has worked with ministries that have clothing closets and other collections for the those who are financially disadvantaged, I can tell you that too often, people use church collections, clothing closets etc. to get rid of castoffs. Please don't donate anything that is in such bad condition that you yourself won't wear or use it, or something broken. "But for the grace of God," this could be your own family, so think about what you'd hope to find for them. Enough about that - a devotional for another day, perhaps. ; )