JUNE 15, 2018

Spare A Few Minutes

Dear Church,

The weather we’ve had the last week or so has been pretty crummy, especially last weekend.  I will admit my ability to be an active and engaged parent decreases when the weather is lousy.  So, last week Monday night when it was again cool, dreary and dark, I made the proposal to Sarah and the boys that we should drive out to Highland, IN and visit Ralph Knopf.  Ralph and Norma had both spent virtually the entire day at Northwestern Hospital where Ralph was having a biopsy on his liver and having his chemo port replaced so that he can begin a new, stronger round of chemo in hopes of treating his cancer. Norma texted me that Ralph was super tired and cold.  We had finished dinner and with it being lighter out and seemingly hours away from bedtime, I figured a drive out there would be a good way to spend a few hours and in the process visit dear friends.

So, we made our way out there and found Ralph bundled up in a blanket on his recliner.  His voice was very weak and you could still see the blue dye on his neck from where they were prepping him for the port surgery.  Within seconds of our arrival, the boys scattered to explore a new home, playing with random toys, looking for food and continually pestering one another. Norma showed Sarah and I their beautiful landscaped backyard full with flowers and perfectly trimmed bushes.  By this time, Ralph mustered up the strength to come outside and visit.

Over the next hour it was something like Popeye who ate his spinach because Ralph’s strength came back in a big way within ten minutes!  He began giving us a guided tour of every room in their home explaining paintings, showing off commemorative Christmas decorations and giving us the family tree on Norma’s side whenever an old photo appeared on the wall or on a desk.  He then took us all downstairs and showed us a giant sea-fish he caught on their honeymoon and a collector’s train set that took up their entire room.  He kept talking and sharing and smiling.  He was a picture of vigor and strength.

Now I don’t claim to suggest that our visit this past Monday night was some sort of magical medicine that lifted this good man’s spirit, but I do believe there is a profound power in the fellowship of the body of Christ.  I do believe there is a profound power when brothers and sisters in Jesus can encourage one another and pray for each other. And I do believe there is a profound power when older people and younger people can simply bond in a ministry of presence.

My guess is that like me, you have at least a few spare minutes each night. What would it look like if instead of plopping on the couch and flipping through the TV Guide in hopes of finding something to watch other than a re-run of House Hunters, you picked up the phone and called one of our members who recently was hospitalized?  What would it look like if instead of scrolling through your phone aimlessly trolling; you sent a text of encouragement to someone in need?  What would it look like if instead of just doing the same routine every night, you made a quick visit to one of our “extended family members” and simply shared a few moments of fellowship and pray together?

Dear friends, these simple acts are what hold the church together.  They are what define a warm and nurturing fellowship. They are marks of a congregation who cares deeply, prays fervently and loves lavishly.  Give it a try.  My guess is you just might be the highlight of someone’s day and the very hands and feet and words of Jesus to someone in need.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt