the weblog of Alan Knox

stories: The kind of friends we all need

Posted by on Jan 28, 2009 in love, missional, service, stories | 6 comments

This post is part of my “stories” series. In this series, I share stories of how people live their lives in response to the gospel and as a demonstration of God’s love in order to teach us and to provide an example to provoke us to love and good works. (See “stories: A New Series” for more information about this series.)

Last month, my father-in-law had quadruple bypass surgery. As you can imagine, this was a tense time for our family.

While he was in surgery and we were all in the waiting room, several friends of my in-laws joined us. One set of visitors surprised us. I’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. B. Since we lived in the same city as my in-laws until about 10 years ago, I know this family, but I didn’t know they were good friends with my in-laws.

They sat in the waiting room with us during the surgery, and rejoiced with us when we heard that the surgery went well. They didn’t just sit quietly though; they struck up conversations with many of the family members, both with those they knew (like us) and with family member that they had never met before.

After surgery, when they were leaving the hospital, I heard Mrs. B say that she was going to work at the local crisis center that afternoon. The crisis center provides food and clothing to families that are in need. The food and clothing are provided by people from the various churches in the county, and are distributed by volunteers to people who come by the center. So, besides giving up their morning spending time comforting our family, they were giving up their afternoon serving others in need – mostly people that they did not know.

At dinner that night, I asked my mother-in-law about this family. I said, “I didn’t realize you were good friends with Mr. and Mrs. B.” She said, “We’re not. We’re in the same Sunday School class with them, but we don’t do anything else with them.”

Then, my mother-in-law said the following: “But, that’s just the way they are. They are always the first people to visit whenever someone is in the hospital. When Frank (my father-in-law) was taking chemo treatments for his prostate cancer, they were the only ones who brought us food. We didn’t ask for it; they just brought it on their own.”

I said something like, “Well, those are the kind of friends we all need.” And, its true! Not only that, but that’s the kind of friend we all need to be to others.

Mr. and Mrs. B do not wait for others to ask for help before they being serving. And, they do not only serve those with whom they are close friends. When they see a need, they meet that need if its in their ability. They are willing to give up time and resources for people that they do not know, and who cannot pay them back or serve them back.

By the way, this family is part of a very traditional church organization. They have probably never heard the word “missional”. But, they know how to share their lives with others, both within the structure of the church organization and outside that structure.

This is a great demonstration of love – the love of Christ! This is an example that we can all follow, regardless of our giftedness, talents, resources, or lack thereof. God loved us by giving. We can only respond to his love by giving of ourselves to others.


6 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-28-2009

    Nice story, Alan. I am appreciative of the kind of people who leave examples of Christ love. I’m waiting for that one, “pay-it-forward” type act that will become infectious and begin to bring change within our communities.
    Jim

  2. 1-28-2009

    Thanks for this Alan it reminds me of people who exist just to be there – as if they don’t have to do much but just be there. It’s a great reminder.

  3. 1-28-2009

    Alan,
    Great story. What struck me most personally was this paragraph:
    “By the way, this family is part of a very traditional church organization. They have probably never heard the word “missional”. But, they know how to share their lives with others, both within the structure of the church organization and outside that structure.”

    This is so impacting because this couple weren’t taking their cue from a trend or movement, but from the character of Christ. This ought to remind us that “missional” isn’t some trendy new way to look at church or reach the world around us; it’s just a term we’ve attached to something we should have been doing all along.

  4. 1-28-2009

    Alan

    The big one for me is “they didn’t wait for someone to tell them”. I wonder if I (me) spent more time in prayer really praying for others needs and an opportunity to meet them what doors the Lord will open for me to serve others and be an example. I remember the movie “Pay it Forward” (I am a big Spacey fan and I hope that doesn’t hurt my hood creditability)and how close it paralleled with the accounts in Acts 4. When people saw others giving of their resources and serving they were also motivated by the Spirit to love and serve others. I wonder if we modeled this type of love and service more, if words like “missional” would even be needed. Because once you have to convince or coerce people to be missional, they really ain’t being missional.

  5. 1-28-2009

    Jim,

    One of the reasons that I’m going to share these stories every week is that I’m hoping that the examples will be “infectious”.

    Christopher,

    “Just being there” is often what people want and need.

    Jeff,

    You said, “This ought to remind us that “missional” isn’t some trendy new way to look at church or reach the world around us; it’s just a term we’ve attached to something we should have been doing all along.” Exactly!

    Lionel,

    You said, “Because once you have to convince or coerce people to be missional, they really ain’t being missional.” Exactly, again!

    -Alan

  6. 2-2-2009

    tears..