Don’t Answer the Phone!

It was one of those crazy, busy afternoons. I was up against deadlines. My sermon for the week was unfinished. I still had work to do for a final project in a class I was taking. I needed to visit a sister who was hospitalized. And I was leaving town the next morning for a conference.

Everyone else had gone- leaving me alone in the church office.  Heavily engaged in the work at hand-  the phone rang. I ignored it. It kept ringing. Finally, with much trepidation I picked it up.

Sure enough it was a woman needing help. Here I was- busy and running behind! The last thing I needed was this woman with her problems. But I had picked up the phone. As I listened to her request I began wondering what deacon I could call to handle it. I had important church work to do! She kept talking. I had heard it all before- many times. She needed food. Her power had been cut-off. She had no transportation. It was getting complicated.

Quickly I wrote down her information- told her someone would be in touch. Then she began crying- thanking me! She had called other churches but had gotten no response.

Ouch! That hit home. Images of the priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story flashed across my mind. I felt ashamed.

I repented. Yep, I put everything down, went to our pantry, bagged her some groceries and delivered them to her house.  This simple act overwhelmed her. She was alone and frightened. To her I was an angel.

I did not tell her what I thought of myself.

God smacked me around a little that afternoon. He  called  in the form of a desperate elderly lady. I didn’t want to answer. I was too self-absorbed.

But hopefully I learned something.  I expect He will be calling me back to see if I did- anytime now.

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.  – Matthew 25:37-40


6 Responses to Don’t Answer the Phone!

  1. K. Rex Butts says:

    Boy o boy…that sure sounds like a familiar story. I think this is one of the greatest challenges of practical ministry…to let the completion of tasks (even good tasks) to overshadow and even eclipse people. Thanks for sharing and thank you for seeing how God was at work in this person.

    Grace and peace,


  2. Otis says:

    This certainly sounds all to familiar. deadlines, dates, and duties we find ourselves overlooking the obviously injured. Jesus’ compassion seems so far away from my own. Thanks for the reminder to try and remember that whatever I do, do it heartily as to the Lord.

  3. Kay Watson says:

    Thanks for the confession. We’ve all done the same thing. If we could only hear Jesus’ words from Matthew 25 when we see the faces of needy people…
    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see God’s “to-do” list for each of us every day? How much are we “getting done?”

  4. Dee Andrews says:

    Danny –

    That passage, to me, sums up our Christian walk in this life and lists who is going to enter the gates of Heaven.

    I’ve been cast in your role in the past, and think of it even now as I minister to my own husband, who is weak in his faith, as I care for all of his needs following his heart surgery & five bypasses, just 2 1/2 weeks ago. God is working through me and in him, I observe, and am elated.

    Thanks for your thoughts – and confession. We all stand with you.


  5. J D says:

    Excellent thoughts Danny. Thanks for being transparent in this … we all identify. Love you.

  6. jim says:

    don’t be a goat…bah!

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