"What We Can"
September 9, 2017
Luke 10:36-37 - (Jesus said) "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
Hurricane Harvey saturated Texas, Louisiana, and points north with an estimated 33-trillion gallons of water. Irma with her killer 185 mile-per-hour winds is on her way; Jose is not far behind, and Katia is growing. In our country, catastrophe and calamity have crippled community and city and the prognosis for the immediate future isn't good.
We are not alone.
Go to the other side of the world and you will find more than 1,200 have died in floods. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been washed away by water, and almost 2 million children are out of school. The future for these counties is bleak, and many folks are feeling overwhelmed by the immense mountains of need, which is shown to us in the evening news. Almost as many are asking "How can I make a difference?"
It's a fair question and, thankfully, an answer has been supplied by one of my old professors.
When I was preparing for the ministry, I was blessed to have a professor who was an incredible teacher and an even better model. For example, every day he picked up trash. That's right; he picked up three pieces of trash. Most folks never noticed, because he didn't pick up all three at once -- just one piece here, and another piece there, and the third later on in the day.
When asked why, he replied, "As a Christian I can't just walk away and pretend trash isn't there, and as a man I can't pick up all the trash, so I do what I can."
Of course, my professor wasn't the first person to come up with that idea. Jesus gets credit for that.
In His parable of the Good Samaritan, we are told of a man who just couldn't walk by a traveler who had been beaten and robbed. Now that Samaritan knew he couldn't fix all the bad blood between his people and the Jews. He couldn't mend every pilgrim who was mugged by the mountain bandits. He couldn't even correct the terrible attitude of those who had gone out of their way to ignore the bleeding traveler.
No, he couldn't do any of those things, but he still did what he could.
He bandaged the man's wounds, took him to a place of shelter, took care of the bill, and promised to pay any other debts the man might incur during his recovery. The Samaritan did what he could, which is what my professor did, which is what we Christians do when we are confronted by these cataclysmic catastrophes.
We do what we can.
If we have monster trucks, we bring them; if we have flat-bottomed duck boats we use them. If we can give some water, some food, some shelter, some words of comfort, some cash, some time, some of ourselves, we do it.
We do what we can because the Savior, who did all that He could, all which was necessary for our salvation, has asked us to live that way -- for others who are unfortunate -- for Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, without complaint, You did all that was necessary to rescue us from our sin and damnation. For this we offer You our thanks and pray that when and where we are able, we might -- in thanksgiving to You -- do what we can to help rescue others. This we ask in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries