DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: The tables have turned
By Doug Creamer
My in-laws needed us to come home and help out around the house for a few days. We packed up everything we would need and headed in their direction. We were able to go help them. We couldn’t have done it several years ago, so it is nice to be in the position to do it now.
For many years when we went home, they would take care of us. You know how moms are, they want to feed you and take good care of you. They want to hear how life is going and send you home with treats. They remind you that you are their children and that they care deeply about you.
As I get older, I am discovering that my parents and my in-laws are now in places where they need my assistance. It’s an odd thing to take care of your parents. Everything seems normal about them. They still talk and interact and have their strong opinions, but they need assistance with more daily tasks than in the past.
I am not complaining. I actually enjoy serving them. They have been great to us through the years. It’s nice to pay them back for all their many kindnesses. I know it is hard for them to accept our help, so I always make a joke about it. I get them laughing and then give them the assistance that they need. In many ways it helps me, too. It takes the focus off what I am doing.
Maybe all this is worth thinking about in light of the coronavirus. We really don’t know what is going to be expected of us in the days to come related to any potential outbreak. We hope that we are seeing the worst at the moment, but we really don’t know how this is all going to play out. We have to consider how God might use us to serve each other if things were to get worse.
Imagine one of your neighbors were to get sick.
Would you be willing to make a Walmart or grocery store run for them?
Would you take care of their children if the parents were sick?
If you have elderly neighbors, what would you be willing to do to help them if thing got difficult?
It’s challenging to think about what we would and would not do if things really got difficult.
In a broader sense, we as Christians are called to serve our brothers and sisters as well as our neighbors. Maybe God is looking for the church to rise up and be His hands and feet. There is so much that needs to be done and so many opportunities for us to reach out to our neighbors with the love of Christ. We shouldn’t need a virus to motivate us to action.
When Jesus came to the earth, He did not come to be served, but to serve. He is our example. He looked into the needs of others as He traveled around preaching. He prayed for the sick. He healed not only their diseases, but also their broken hearts.
I believe that He wants us to reach out with His forgiveness. He wants us to reach out with His compassion and show empathy for those in need. I am suggesting that we can reach out to our co-workers, fellow students, next door neighbors and members of our churches. People around us are hurting every day, and I don’t mean from a virus. People are hungry and hurting because they are lost and in need of a savior. We have the answer that they desperately need.
I want to encourage you in the days and weeks to come to look for ways that you can serve your neighbors.
Who are your neighbors?
I believe that anybody that is in need qualifies as a neighbor. If your neighbor is in the hospital, maybe you can visit them or help to take care of their home while they are away. Maybe we can help someone who needs a simple helping hand, being careful of those who want to take advantage of us. Sometimes a neighbor might just need a listening ear or a warm hug. It is amazing what God can do through us if we will simply stop and make ourselves available to Him. I hope that God protects all of us from the coronavirus, but I hope more importantly that we will all look out for our neighbors and our families.
Doug Creamer taught at North Stanly High School and in other local counties. Contact Doug at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.