Friday, June 18, 2010

Helping. That's What It's All About.

Did you used to watch the tv drama, Early Edition?

I loved that show, still do, still often watch my dvd's and ancient, thinning videos taped from the tv.

In case you've not seen it, Gary would get tomorrow's newspaper today and so he'd have to go racing around Chicago trying to keep people from accidents/decisions which would hurt or even kill them. In his daily newspaper were all the details he needed to know in order to arrive in time to 'save the day.'

Doesn't sound too difficult does it? Just show up and warn people they were making unwise mistakes, they were in danger, they were headed for a big fall.

Huh. You know how we are, don't you? We don't want to be told what to do. We hate making changes, especially when another person tells us our current choices are going to kill us, make us sick or fill us with regret. And we must know all the whys. Why do you think I'm making a mistake? Why should I change? Why do you think you have a right to tell me what to do?

But well, it wasn't like Gary could tell everyone, "Hey. I get tomorrow's newspaper today so you'll just have to take my word for it." (Like that would work.) No, mostly people had to simply trust that Gary knew something they didn't. They had to humble themselves and act in a type of faith. And rethink their decisions.

Not everyone did that, though. And mostly, Gary was misunderstood, always in a hurry, always sacrificing his own life and wants and he received very, very few thanks.

Anyway, I could write a book about all the ways Early Edition confirmed what God was teaching me about ministry to others at that time. How even now it keeps me from giving-up on myself and others over and over when ministry becomes messy and unpleasant! For ministry to others can get sticky, you know.

But instead, I'll just share a short, valuable quote from one of the 4th season episodes. Gary's counterpart, a man who received tomorrow's newspaper over in New York City, traveled to Chicago to find Gary after he (NYC guy) had not received the NYC paper for a couple weeks.

Joey Clams appeared to want to help Gary not lose his own newspaper, but in reality, he hoped that, by helping Gary save other people, he'd start receiving his own New York City newspaper again. He missed the fringe benefits (betting on sure-bet horse races to win tons of money, being one), but beneath all that, he also missed the looks of gratitude he received from the people whose lives he saved. He missed making a difference in the world.

Well, Joey never did get the NYC newspaper back and near the episode's end this is what he told Gary:

"But you know? I got to thinking. I've been making too much of this paper thing. See, Joey Clams is not a passive spectator on the stage of History. No, my friend. He's a man of action. And if I want to help people, who's gonna stop me? No one, that's who. I don't need the paper to do that."

Wow. If only we all kept it that simple. Because it is, you know. Anytime night or day, we can help people. No great, super, behind-the-pulpit callings or gifts needed! No, just kind, sympathetic-hearted folks who want nothing for themselves, but everything for the hurting people out there who are praying, even now, for a helping hand to pull them upward to an amazing Saviour.


1 comment:

Rodney Olsen said...

What a great post. I watched some episodes of the program but never really thought about what it could mean.

Would I warn someone if I knew something terrible was going to happen to them? I'd like to think I would but then I think that millions are facing an eternity without Christ and I wonder if I'm doing enough to warn them.

Some will not listen but I still need to be warning them.