Summary: This is about how Christians should be involved in compassionate ministries.
You’ve probably heard of several Christian Charities. There’s Catholic Charities, Feed the Children, Christian Children’s Fund, Compassion International, Heart-to-Heart, International Orthodox Christian Charities, and others. Most denominations have some arm that is a charity, usually called “compassionate ministries.” We could list them all day long.
Well, today I want to tell you about one of them. It all starts with a lady we’ll call Marsha. Marsha is a single mother. She works hard, but has trouble caring for kids, all three of them, especially in the summer. The two oldest, Ryan and Becky are in school. The youngest, Trina, is still a toddler. Marsha’s mom used to watch the kids, but her health failed and isn’t capable. So it’s been difficult to work a lot. Daycare is expensive. (Those of you who use daycare know what I mean.)
As Marsha had to cut back hours because of childcare, the car broke down. She had to rely on coworkers or the bus to get to and from work. Also she began to fall behind in the rent. Ryan and Becky were growing and needed new clothes, but she couldn’t afford them. Trina wasn’t potty-trained yet, and needed diapers.
Things were looking bleak for Marsha and the kids. Within the month, they had lost the house. She was let go at work because her attendance was so bad. She tried to get a job that was closer to home, but no one would hire her. To complicate matters even further, Marsha’s mom got sicker. Desperate for money, Ryan thought he would help by peddling some drugs. He was caught, arrested and thrown in jail.
Marsha thought things would improve when were ex-husband said he wanted to get back together and help. Marsha and the kids moved in with Roy, happy to have a cool house to sleep in. Things were looking up. Marsha found a job close by. Roy even fixed the car up. Ryan was given probation because it was his first offense.
One day, Marsha was cooking dinner. The kids were outside playing. Roy walked in the door. Or, should I say, staggered in the door. He had been drinking. “Marsha!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “Where the heck are you?”
The memories came flooding back into Marsha’s mind. This is why she left in the first place.
“What stinks?” Roy demanded.
“I was just cooking dinner,” Marsha started.
“Smells terrible!” Roy bellowed.
Marsha tried to apologize, but before she could get the words out, Roy threw a punch. Because he was drunk, he missed, but he didn’t stop. He beat Marsha unmercifully. The kids heard the commotion and ran inside. Ryan pulled Roy off Marsha. The welts were forming on her cheeks. Her eye was puffing up. Her lip was bleeding.
Roy let loose with a profanity-ridden tirade that would make anyone blush. Marsha grabbed the kids and ran from the house. She was walking down the street when she saw a Christian charity. It’s called the “Good Luck With That Thing” ministry. Their motto is: “Good Luck With That Thing.” They see dozens of people everyday.
Marsha walked through the door. She relayed the whole story to them. Broken down car. Sick mom. Growing kids. Diapers. Abusive husband. Lost job. The whole thing.
The caseworker, named Paul, listened intently. He took notes to start a file on her case. Tears welled up in Paul’s eyes as heard the gut-wrenching story.
Marsha concluded her story and asked, “Is there anything you can do to help? Can you feed us? Can we stay here tonight? Can we get some clothes?”
Paul leaned back in his high-back, leather desk chair that sat behind his mahogany desk. He tapped his pen against his lips for a moment. He said, “Uh-huh, um.” He let out a few grunts. He looked out the window.
Finally he broke the long silence. “Well, I appreciate you terrible situation. You have a lot of obstacles in front of you. I deeply sympathize with you.”
Marsha looked on. She was waiting for some kind of help to come from Paul’s mouth. “Well?” she inquired.
Paul replied, “Can I pray for you?”
Marsha said, “That would be fine.”
Paul gathered everyone around. He held hands with Marsha and the kids. He leaned his head back as if to look at the heavens. He cleared his throat and began:
“O, Lord God Almighty in heaven. Thou hast created all things great and small. O, mighty God of heaven, we beseech thee, most gracious heavenly Father. We are all thine children. Thou carest for each and every one of us as though we were the only one. O great and wonderful God who sits in highest heaven, we cometh before thee today to intercede on behalf of one of thine children, and her family. Most omnipotent Father God, thou knowest the predicament that thine child is in. We need not recount her story unto thee yet again. Wonderful, majestic God who doth see all, and carest for all, please help this poor woman and her youngsters. We ask all this in the wonderful, matchless, glorious, awesome name of thine only begotten Son, whom thou didst sent forth unto the earth to save us, that thou wouldst answereth our prayer even at this time, in this hour. Amen. Amen. Amen.”