How to Save a Life
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.’
I recently read a moving true story by John W. Schlatter called “A Simple Gesture,” which was published in the 1993 bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
As the story goes, a boy named Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the guy ahead of him trip and drop all his belongings – including books, sweaters, a baseball hat, a glove and a small tape recorder.
Mark knelt down, picked up some of the scattered articles, and offered to help carry them back to the boy’s house since he was already headed that way.
As they walked, Mark learned that the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball, and history, and that he had just suffered a bad breakup with his girlfriend.
When they arrived, Bill offered Mark a coke and invited him to watch TV for a bit. Mark agreed, and the afternoon passed pleasantly as they shared a few laughs and some good conversation.
Years later, as the two boys were about to graduate from high school, Bill pulled Mark aside and told him that on the day they met, he had already stored away his mom’s sleeping pills and planned to kill himself. But meeting Mark and having a good conversation with him changed his mind.
Isn’t that amazing? Mark thought he was making a simple gesture, but he was actually saving a boy’s life!
The church in Acts 6 was on the brink of disaster. Even though it was led by apostles who taught sound doctrine, the undercurrents of racism and classism were beginning to tear the church apart.
Who will step up? Who will pull up their sleeves and serve? Seven ordinary men from the congregation will. Did they have seminary degrees? No. Were they Bible scholars? No. They were simply known for being wise and Spirit-empowered. Instead of adding to the problem, they became the solution.
Do you expect your pastor to make all the visitations to hurting people in your church? Do you think it is the responsibility of your deacons and elders to reach out to the Bills in your congregation? It’s not. It is your responsibility. It is your privilege.
So be on the lookout for them. Find those who are all alone and invite them to lunch. Offer words of encouragement to those you pass. Welcome strangers who walk through the doors and give them a seat next to you. Listen for gossip and strife among members and be a peacemaker.
A simple gesture may touch someone’s life in the long run, and it may even save it.
Prayer Point: Spend time praying specifically for the person who came to your mind as you read this devotional. Then pray for God to reveal ways in which you can minister to him or her even today!
Extra Refreshment: Read the Parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, and use it as a mirror for your own life. Which character are you in the story?