In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
It's probably been close to 40 years ago since a tornado hit the Minnesota town of Lakefield, where I was the pastor.
Understand, it wasn't a giant tornado. It didn't flatten the town, nor did it leave hundreds homeless and without power. On the other hand, it did level some crops in the field, smashed windows, tore up trees, and destroyed one of the outbuildings on the Fricke farm.
It also left us all pretty shook up.
Indeed, we were still deciding what to do, and where to begin, when a bunch of pickup trucks came rolling into town. No, they weren't looters like you read about so often. These were members of the Mennonite Church from Mountain Lake. They had heard what had happened and wanted to help us out.
Without ceremony they went up to a house in need, knocked on the door, and offered to board up a broken window or cut up a tree and stack the firewood. Seeing what needed to be done, young men, fathers and grandfathers did what was necessary. Then, having made a difference, without waiting for thanks, they quietly left.
Today, more than four decades later, I remember their outstanding acts of charity.
The only reason I bring them up is because similar reports are coming out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The floods which came cost the lives of 13 people and left thousands homeless.
But it could have been worse.
Churches, civic groups, volunteers showed up and helped save 30,000 people.
Before government agencies could get going, a student at Notre Dame organized a food drive; folks in Appalachia filled a truck with diapers, baby food, and sundries. High on the list of those people helping were church groups from all over the country.
Like the Mennonites of Mountain Lake, Christians stepped forward to assist because their Lord had told them to care for each other. How did He say it? "For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land."
The Savior who fed the hungry thousands with a few loaves and fishes would agree. His entire life was spent helping those who were in need. Indeed, His life, death and resurrection were God's plan to give a heavenly home to lost and sinful souls.
His sacrifice did for us that which we could not do for ourselves. In thanks to Him, and in spite of the negative opinions of others, we will do what we can to help the poor in our land.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You were a Friend to those who were outcasts; a Comfort to those who were alone; a Source of peace to those who were troubled. May we, in large ways and small, reflect that love which we have received, to others. This we ask in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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