A.K.A…A Tale of Two Churches
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
First of all…a little background so you can more fully understand this story…Mr. Gypsy is a self-employed entrepreneur…always has been. A few years ago we had a thriving business. Money for payments on our home, cars, various insurances, groceries, utilities, etc. was not an issue. Regular daily life was a breeze and the ability to help others was reasonably steady. Then…enter the big “C”. After a series of tests and procedures, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. One of the procedures was a TURP. If you’re familiar with it, all I can say is I’m sorry. If not…look it up. It’s enough to make even a woman cross her legs. ANYHOW…He wasn’t healing properly after the TURP so, with additional testing, once again the big “C” reared it’s ugly head…Kidney cancer. His left kidney was 75% full of cancer. The only treatment was removal. So…they took out his left kidney, the ureter and the small portion of his bladder where the ureter connects.
Now…Complications set in after the kidney removal and Mr. Gypsy found himself back in the hospital. In the words of the doctor…(I kid you not)… “Basically what happened is the colon got pissed off because it was bumped during the surgery and it has decided not to work.” Then we were told it “usually corrects itself in a couple days”…Well…I will spare you all the gory details/events that occurred and simply say after three weeks in the hospital, extreme weight loss and intravenous feeding, I was able to bring Mr. Gypsy home.
At the same time all this was taking place, technology was going through some major changes and, as with anything else, in business…use it or loose it. For the sake of brevity I’ll give you a summation…we lost everything…business, home, vehicle, the ability to pay even the smallest of utilities and the last thing to go was our health insurance.
OK…Enter what I will call “Mega Church” and “Orthodox Church”.
Mr. Gypsy was regularly attending both Mega and Orthodox Church. He was known by both church’s, congregation as well as pastors, equally by presence, contribution to study, after-glow, etc. As our world fell out from under us due to his health, he went to both churches to seek counsel and make his needs known.
Luke 3:11(ESV) And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Mega Church listened with compassion. Several of the Pastors were involved in prayer and good wishes. Mr. Gypsy was counseled with… “You need to join this group. You need to go to that study. You need to attend the men’s retreat. You need…on and on.”
Orthodox Church listened with compassion. Several of the Pastors, as well as Elders, were involved in prayer and the seeking of Gods counsel. Then they pulled out their checkbook and paid the rent on the little abode we landed in when we lost the ranch. It wasn’t that much but it was a life sustaining bridge.
I’ve used this verse before. It is one of my favorites because it keeps my spirit humble and reminds my heart to stay soft…
James 2:15-16(AMP) If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
When we are able, God has given us direction, and cautioned us on disobedience, on how to handle the needs of others…
Deuteronomy 15:11-12(MSG) Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.
1 John 3:17(AMP) But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?
We have still not completely recovered but God has supplied our basic needs and I praise Him daily for covering us.
So, a little something for you to ponder…Which church would Jesus feel most at home in?