by Gene A . Getz
This title comes from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
“So we must not get tired of doing good. … Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10).
As I opened my Bible to these words of Scripture in preparation for writing this article, they suddenly became more challenging. I had just received a phone call from a woman I’ll call Mary, who was in desperate need. She was about to be evicted from her apartment and needed money to pay her rent. To complicate matters, she said I knew her well.
To be honest, I had no recollection of her, even though she detailed events from nearly 40 years ago in the first Fellowship Bible Church I started in Dallas.
An “Old Line”
Frankly, as a pastor, I have had many people say they knew me before in an effort to ask something of me. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of ministries meant to help people in need. Those who do so oftentimes make pastors and other church leaders feel guilty because they can’t remember them. Well, Mary said she used to play her guitar and sing in our services, and I did feel guilty. I didn’t remember her. Was she telling the truth? Or was she trying to swindle me?
At this point, I must explain that I was in a big hurry. I was rushing to finish some messages for a weekend conference, and I was way behind. I was just about to begin this very article when, suddenly, the words from Paul’s pen jumped off the page — “we must not get tired of doing good”; “as we have opportunity” ; and “we must work for the good of all.”
Paul’s message had my attention. Was Mary’s situation an opportunity orchestrated by the Holy Spirit? I asked myself. Was this one of those times when an interruption becomes an opportunity to do God’s will? My conscience gave me no choice but to curtail my activities. I had to find the truth.
I spent hours talking to people who knew Mary well. In the process, my old brain suddenly remembered the events she had mentioned from nearly 40 years before.
A Startling Experience
Another event happened when I got home from the office that day. There on the kitchen counter was a copy of Mature Living (August 2013). It included one of my articles entitled “Personal Interest.” I had cited an example of Jesus taking time out of His very busy schedule to stop and show compassion to two blind beggars who cried out for help.
I was a bit startled as I quickly skimmed the article and came to my final paragraph: “Today, in our opportunities to minister to people, let’s never overlook that one individual who needs our compassion and personal attention.”
Need I say more? Message received! The next day, I called Mary and introduced her to our staff member who handles those requests. I also shared with her godly wisdom about her lifestyle that had led her to this point in her life. She had certainly made some bad choices, but God is in the business of redeeming even those who we think are beyond reach.
A Positive Response
I’m not sure what will happen to Mary. However, she responded positively to my suggestions. She was non-defensive, even when I challenged her bad decisions. She willingly cooperated in the process we have outlined for people seeking financial help. She recognized that my efforts reflected love for her, even though it was tough love. And, later that morning, as I walked by the room where she was filling out the paperwork, I stopped, entered, and greeted her. And yes, I recognized her, though her difficult life had aged her beyond her years. As I left, I said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight, and I’ve lost a lot of hair.” We both smiled — and she followed through.
Gene A. Getz is a pastor, teacher, radio broadcaster, and author of more than 60 books, including Life Essentials Study Bible (B&H). He and his wife, Elaine, live in Plano, Texas.
Editor’s note: You can view a video message, “The Process of Restoration” from Gene Getz below. If you do not see the video, click here to watch on YouTube.
You’ll also find this QR code on page 732 in the new Life Essentials Study Bible published by B&H Publishing.
This article originally appeared in the February, 2014 issue of Mature Living. Subscribe
FEBRUARY 2014 Mature Living 51