Monday, December 21, 2009

Government Transit vs Kingdom Transit

Last week a regular visitor to our church called me for help. He needed to go to the doctor for a procedure in a few weeks and he needed a ride. He has a car and is able to drive but the procedure he is having done will leave him a bit on the loopy side. Who wants to get a DUI on the way home from the doctor?

The man made several attempts to reach out to the government for help. None of the medical transit vans could do anything. Because the man's procedure was in another county, he tried the resources there. Still no help. Running by the store and picking up a copy of Internal Medicine for Dummies was looking like the best option. Fortunately, he called the church before it came to that.

When I got the phone call and listened to the man's story, my first thought was simply to give the guy a ride myself. Conviction set in before I opened my mouth. My initial desire to help was, I believe, rooted in sinful motives. In my pride, I thought that I could handle this problem without worrying the church. Who needs them when I can do it all by myself anyway? Giving in to this sin, at one point or another, would do at least two things. First, it would wear me out. Second, it would deprive the church of opportunities to live out the gospel for those in need. By God's grace, I told the man not to worry. I didn't know how, but this man would have a ride to and from the doctor's office.

A few days later, I made an announcement at church. I told everyone the important details and the opportunity they had to serve. Before I could even tell them to see me if they would be willing to help, a man raised his hand and said, "I got it." That was it. No forms to fill out. No insurance claims. No sitting around waiting for a government van from another county. Just one man giving another man a ride to the doctor and back. Jesus spoke to this a couple of thousand years ago when he said, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).

It is a joy to see the church step up and do its job, especially when other entities in the community have proven themselves incapable of their basic functions. I think that this event was a small slice of what we read about in Acts 4:34-35. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Now that's the kind of redistribution of wealth I like to see. The kind that takes place, not by the force of a gun's barrel or government mandate but as a result of a heart that has been overwhelmed by the cross of King Jesus.

I'm glad the Holy Spirit rescued me from my prideful hero complex and let me simply witness the body of Christ at work.

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