The number of hurting people in Water Valley, and Yalobusha County, is vast. I see it each day. There are some days that as people come in asking for help, some pleading for help that I wonder if what I am doing has any relevance to the Kingdom of God. I know what you’re thinking, “sure it does.” I have to constantly look to Jesus and allow him to remind me that what I am doing at First United Methodist Church or shall I say what we are doing here makes a difference.
I received a call the other day that is a prime example. An older gentleman was being evicted from his house. He asked me, could we help him find a place to stay. I knew immediately that this was a problem that we could not help. I told the gentleman that we could provide him a food voucher for $25.00 worth of groceries from the Piggly Wiggly. He was very gracious and accepted the offer. He came in and we talked for a moment, and I asked him if I could have prayer with him. He said, sure that he certainly needed prayers. $25.00 worth of groceries pales in comparison to needing a place to live, but it was all we could do and so I offered it to the gentleman in the name of Jesus.
I am reminded of our Lord’s words in Matthew, “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was in prison and you visited me. Then those who are righteous will reply to him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you in prison and visit you? Then the king will reply to them, I assure you that when you have done it to one of the least brothers and sister of mine, you have done it for me,” (Matthew 25: 35-40, CEV). This gives me the assurance and it should give you the assurance that when we minister to others we are really ministering to Jesus. Each time we feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and welcome the stranger, it is Jesus that we are feeding, visiting, and welcoming. What a cool thought.
Several years ago I read a story that has really stuck with me. One day an elderly gentleman was walking along the seashore when he came upon hundreds of Starfish that had washed ashore. In the midst of all of the Starfish a teenage boy was flinging Starfish one by one back into the water. The older man looked at the teenager and said, “Do you really think you are making a difference by pitching those Starfish back into the water? There are hundreds all along the shore” The teen age boy looked at the elderly gentleman and replied, “It made a difference to that one,” as he flung the Starfish into the ocean. He picked up another and flung it into the ocean, “it made a difference to that one.” The elderly gentleman just shook his head in disbelief and continued his leisurely stroll down the beach.
It is like flinging Starfish back into the ocean. We help one person at a time, and yes it does make a difference!