Helping Those in Need, Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, May 16, 2014

little lamb

Helping Those in Need, Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

Most people need a helping hand, every now and then. Some people need a helping hand more often—whether it’s because of poor health, or loss of a job, or sudden accident. It doesn’t matter why sometimes. Things happen. Just because. Or maybe it’s because of poor decisions. Or because of some one else’s mistakes. Like I said, things happen.

I’ve mentioned here about my new position, before. I am very happy to be serving this community of believers, and there are many things I have picked right up. (I’ve done some of them before, in other positions in the past.) And, several of these job skills are newer to me. I’ll need some practice, therefore, and the community is very encouraging to me.

One fascinating aspect about serving at a new church is that I am finding out about new outreaches and new missionaries. Each church and each group of believers has their own style of serving and outreach. This group here in this corner of the Chicago suburbs supports several missionaries, the local food pantry, and provides assistance for other, local people in need. The Good Shepherd Fund is a great outreach to those people who are temporarily down on their luck or otherwise in sudden need.

“It started with people coming to the door and asking for help,” said Lill, the Church Council president. “People started to come when the church was built. And people have been coming ever since. Sometimes a man, other times a woman, sometimes a couple. You never know when. And the Good Shepherd Fund is to be used at the pastor’s discretion.”

This community of believers is caring and giving. However, I know there are a whole lot of different ideas and ways of reaching out to people—each separate church, agency, or other place of worship has certain ways of doing things. So, I remembered an idea that had worked at another place. I brought it to several members on the Church Council recently. The idea met with a great deal of enthusiasm! With the Council’s blessing, I went to the local Subway sandwich shop and purchased some gift cards to distribute to those who might need a decent meal.

When I think of the Good Shepherd in John Chapter 10, I can’t help but be reminded of the One who provides for the sheep. Whether the sheep in the sheep pen, safely together with the others, or the lost sheep wandering far from familiar surroundings, the Shepherd goes after the sheep and provides for them. As the Good Shepherd’s representative, I pray that I might have the wisdom and understanding of how best to use this fund.

Now our community of believers has another way to reach out, another way to be of service. The Good Shepherd Fund can continue to be an opportunity to provide a helping hand.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being A Chauffeur

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, January 4, 2014

Being A Chauffeur

picture credit Tom Brown

picture credit Tom Brown

I met together with several friends this morning. Earlier this week I offered to chauffeur a senior friend of mine to and from the get-together. Accordingly, I pulled up in front of her apartment at the appointed time. We had a wonderful time in the car, going both to and fro, not to mention a good time of conversation and laughter with our friends.

What a small thing, agreeing to pick up a friend and transport them. Sure, I’ve sometimes done that before. (In my twenties and thirties I drove commercially, including driving a school bus for some years.) I like driving and am good at it. It’s certainly not a difficult thing for me to do. However, with my busy and haphazard schedule for the past few years, I just have not been chauffeuring people much.

Or is it that I haven’t taken the time to offer people rides?

This train of thought led me down a similar path to yesterday’s post. Who is my neighbor? By extension, who am I to offer rides to? I know, I know. I’m already feeling the conviction in my heart. Yes, God. I know You have graciously allowed me and my husband to purchase a good (used) car, and moreover, provided us with money to keep the car in good repair. I am so grateful, really I am! Therefore, You are not asking too much of me to be kind with my car. With a sturdy car like we own, I can pick up or drop off people, run errands or help people out by carting things around. Plus, I make a point of keeping in fairly good shape. (I have adult children—figure out my approximate age from there.) So, I can fetch and carry most things without too much difficulty. This helps with the carting-things-around-part.

Being kind to people seems to be a natural outgrowth to me and my way of thinking and acting. It’s when the kindness is reversed that I get taken aback, and find myself off kilter. What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if I were in need of transportation, or didn’t have access to my car, or sick in the hospital, or immobilized at home? You get the picture. I hope and pray that—number one—I would be willing to call people and ASK for help, and—number two—be gracious enough to RECEIVE the help freely offered and given. After all, I need to give others the opportunity to be of service, too.

During the past few months, a number of people have been gracious to me. Encouraging, helpful, loving, kind. It’s funny. I hadn’t fully thought it out before. But, because of various people and their kindness and graciousness to me, this is part of the reason I am where I am today. Doing what I’m doing, which is 365 days of intentional service.

Chauffeuring is a great start to the year! Let’s see what tomorrow will bring. God, help me be open, willing and ready.