August 19, 2019

Hebrews 10: 24: Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. 

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit us at the Missouri Conference Center at 3601 Amron Court in Columbia, when you started getting close you may have found yourself behind a slow-moving car. If it happens in the future you can follow it here. It happens to me often. The car isn’t coming to the Conference center, but to our neighbors across the street. The eye clinic there treats retinal disease. My theory is that many of the people driving themselves there can’t see very well, so they are taking it nice and easy. I’m usually not in that big of a hurry to get to my desk a couple of minutes quicker, so I patiently follow along behind. 

The other day I was leaving the office on my motorcycle, and I saw a vehicle drive very slowly down our street to the end of the cul-de-sac. I assumed it was someone on the way to our neighbor’s office who had missed the driveway, but as I started to leave our parking lot it had circled back and stopped in the middle of the street, squarely in my path of travel. The window rolled down, and I saw two elderly women inside. 

Driver: Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to 63? 
Me: Northbound or southbound? 
Driver: (looking a little confused) We’re going to the hospital. 
Me: Which hospital? 
Driver: Looking confused, doesn’t know what to say. 
Passenger: Boone. 

I proceeded to give directions. Although I’ve been driving to our office an average of five time a week for something like 13 years, my directions were surprisingly confusing, and in retrospect, somewhat inaccurate. As the driver repeated the directions back to me, I had a flashback from decades ago from the short time I lived in Africa. I was pretty much always lost when I was there. And without fail, whenever I asked someone how to get somewhere they never once gave me directions. Without fail, the person would stop whatever he or she was doing and say, “Follow me,” and walk me to where I needed to go. Oftentimes it wasn’t that close. 

So I said, “Just follow me,” reduced my average commuting speed by a couple of gears and provided the ladies a motorcycle escort to the driveway of Boone Hospital. 

I’m not telling this story just to highlight the only good deed I’ve done in recent memory although that’s probably part of the reason, despite all of Jesus’s warnings in the book of Matthew. In all honesty – it wasn’t that good of a deed. Although it wasn’t the route I usually take home, it wasn’t much farther. My only sacrifice was slowing down so I didn’t lose my wanderers in traffic. 

I’m telling this story because I was struck by how after I showed the ladies the way to the hospital and continued on my ride home, I felt really good. My mood was lifted, and I was distracted from ongoing issues I had been working on. Even though my assistance required virtually no effort on my part, I was still bolstered by knowing that I had been of value and provided something good. 

On pages 6-9 of this magazine, you’ll read about some guys who also felt good about being given the opportunity to do good for others. It is a role nearly all of our Methodist churches provide, and an important one: providing people an opportunity to serve. May all of our churches be blessed as they help people find ways to do good.