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work, tragedy


The hurricanes and floods that have taken place in Texas and are happening now in the Caribbean, the ones that are getting ready to hit in Florida and surrounding environs, the fires happening in the West  are taking aim at one of the deepest loves of Americans: our work ethic.

We believe, or at least we once did, that if we work hard enough, we will be blessed with a good job, advancement, a home of our own and blessings beside…if we manage the money we have been given well. Of course, that is a general principle, but as a nation, we have had more natural disasters than we are used to in recent years. We have had to learn that we can work hard and it can all disappear in one day in a flood, tornado or other natural disaster.  stop 

What is there for us to learn from this?

Stop working hard? Probably not.

Buy more insurance? That doesn’t always help because we don’t always have the right insurance for the damage we have.

Keep working harder? That is definitely not the solution. We see how temporary all our efforts are.

Love our families and those around us because we don’t know what a new day will bring? That may be closer to the right track. When we look at the devastation on TV that shows up in neighborhoods of the rich and poor alike, we realize that if we are only working to accumulate wealth, we are working for the wrong master. It is the people around us who are eternal. They are the ones who are important.

Watching the courage of those who have been helping…professional and lay people alike, has been encouraging and hopeful. Yes, there are people still demonstrating in parts of the country against things they are unhappy about. But in areas where people have lost a lot, you watch and see that no one cares about the color of anyone’s skin. No one cares if the person they are rescuing is rich or poor. They are just helping each other survive and get to a safe place.

How can we help? By working together in many ways…Giving time, money, ourselves to meet some of the overwhelming needs.

Some people have been volunteering to help the Red Cross, Salvation Army or their churches in a variety of efforts. Some groups specialize in feeding large groups of people, some help others fill out forms so they will be able to receive assistance, some are just helping keep them warm and dry while others go house to house, cleaning out the mess, cutting down trees, scrubbing out mold and dirt left by flooding, comforting people who have lost so much. Some groups are able to work on a large scale, others on a small scale, but everyone is working together to help. Some people are just helping their family and friends. Eventually, the work gets done.

In the middle of all this, Irma came and is headed for Florida! Even though the job in Texas is nowhere near done, it is going to be starting again in Florida and probably in some nearby states.

Working together to help.

We will be working and will need our work ethic for sure, but the work will mainly be volunteer work. It is going to take the help of all of us working together. Maybe that is a good thing. We have been fighting with each other for too long. Maybe it’s time to focus on caring for each other, comforting and building up our neighbors and friends. It may be time to look at each other as fellow human beings and Americans, many of whom are in pain right now instead of arguing about the ways we differ.

There are many ways to help locally in a support way, or on site with groups both now and later. Click To Tweet

We have opportunities to help by going to volunteer in person to an affected area, putting together kits to help those who are working in affected areas…cleaning bucket kits, hygiene kits, bedding kits or using building skills a little later…you name it. (These are the kits we made because they were the ones most needed, but they are similar to the ones your church group makes if they do this sort of thing. I’ve seen the same kits used by a variety of groups. They are not unique to us.)

Whether or not we can do physical work, we can do the work of prayer for all those affected by these storms and fires. This is a hard, hard time for them. They have lost a lot, their lives have been traumatized in varying degrees. They need our compassion and mercy. We can pray for them and for the situation. Sometimes, GOD opens our eyes to ways we can help that we didn’t know about.

Whether or not we can do physical work, we can do the work of prayer. Click To Tweet

And that doesn’t even begin to cover the losses for our friends overseas. It’s just that today, I’m focusing on fellow Americans.

Then the King will say to those on his right
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
  I was naked and you clothed me,
I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, saying,
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?”

And the King will answer them,
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:34-40

How does GOD want us to use our resources?

We need wisdom to know how GOD wants to use us and our resources. Tonight, a group of us put together cleaning buckets. It was neat to see how many people worked together behind the scenes to bring that off. The goal was to purchase the supplies and put together 25 buckets. How many got done? Thanks to the generosity of a variety of people, they were able to get the supplies and load up triple that number. It was encouraging to know that we were able to help in a small way.

Tomorrow, our 78 buckets will be loaded on a truck with the buckets from other churches in our presbytery for Georgia and from there to…we’re not sure where! They will go to wherever they are needed. It wasn’t anything fancy that they did, but they were able to involve all ages in putting the buckets together as well as people on different schedules and with different abilities. We ended up crossing paths with people we don’t always see at our church.

I don’t know what GOD wants you to do in the next months and years to help. But He will make it clear. You may be needed to help in more than one way. Be prepared.