When friends step in

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

None of us can be all things to all people We simply can’t. There isn’t enough of us to go around. But if each one of us does what we can when we can and where we can, every need does get covered. I have living proof of this over the last few weeks.

I often feel like a failure because I can’t get to everyone I know who is going through a tough time. I know a lot of people who are facing difficult situations in their lives right now. I might shoot an e-mail or offer up a prayer, but that just isn’t the same as being there in person. That’s where I’ve felt like I dropped the ball. But I’ve learned some valuable lessons in the last few weeks.

Even though we can’t be front and center available to other people twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, there will be opportunities where we can be present for one or two people, or maybe more in the midst of very specific needs.

I’ve been a firsthand witness to church ladies who brought food to an individual in need. The visit and the food were equally a ministry. I’ve seen people volunteer to drive an individual to doctor’s appointments because they couldn’t drive. A variety of people volunteered to spend the night when this person needed to be watched over as they recovered from an illness. A cleaning crew made magic one day, as well as cooking. God supplied every need this person had while they were going through a hard time and recovery, but He supplied those needs through a wide variety of friends. No one person could do everything, but several people doing one or two things covered everything that was necessary.

I want to be that kind of friend as more opportunities arise. I want to MAKE time to clean someone’s house if they need help. I want to take food to the one who needs a reminder that they are not alone. I want to be available if God calls me to minister to the needs of family, friends, or church family in very specific ways.

Most of us have probably been taken advantage of at one time or the other in our lives in trying to help people who weren’t willing to help themselves. I’ve been burned in that way several times, with effort, giving money, giving clothes, making donations, food, etc. But that hasn’t made me stop reaching out. It has made me wiser. The bad experiences have taught me that I need to tune in to what the Holy Spirit is telling me to do instead of jumping in the middle of someone else’s mess and trying to rescue them.

If each one of us did one thing per week (or even as seldom as one thing per month) to reach out to an individual who has a genuine need, what a difference it would make in their lives and in ours. I believe serving others in their time of need also makes us very much aware of our own blessings. We are reminded of the blessings of our own health, the resources God has placed in our hands, and the amazing people present in our lives.

To each one whom I witnessed being such a blessing over the last couple of weeks, know that I am profoundly touched by your kindnesses on so many levels in caring for this person. May God bless this little army of friends, family, and especially church family who applied the Good News of the Gospel in their daily lives to meet the needs of someone in their circle. Enduring friendships are priceless.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.