November 13, 2019

Many years ago, I read a story about two friends sitting out on a patio visiting with each other. They had known each other for many years and were very good friends. Each of them had several children. During their visit, one of the ladies asked the other one, “Do you have a favorite child?”  The lady being asked the question replied, “Yes, I do.”  The lady asking the question looked surprised and asked, “Which one is your favorite?”  The friend sad, “The one who needs me the most at the time.”

Through the years I’ve shared this story many times with my different congregations as a pastor.

It shouldn’t be a surprising answer that the lady gave to her friend. As a son, a parent and a grandparent, I’ve seen this scenario played out many times in my life. I’m sure you have seen it in your life, too.

The person you are most concerned about when they need you the most may not be a child or grandchild. It could be a sibling, a cousin, an aunt or uncle, a niece or nephew, a parent, or a good friend.

How do you help people when they have a great need?  Sometimes it’s just by giving a sympathetic ear, and sometimes by providing for a variety of their other needs. But it should always be by prayer and showing a lot of love for that person.

Jesus helped people that way.  He ministered to the needy, who had all kinds of needs.  Once when Jesus was eating with a group of tax collectors and their friends, he ways harshly criticized by the Pharisees.  They asked Jesus’ disciples why their Master was eating with publicans and sinners?  Jesus overheard the question and replied, “They that are well need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matt. 9:12, Mk. 2:17, Lu. 5:31)

Actually, then, we’re all sick, because all are sinners. And we need Jesus, the Physician.

The beautiful part about the Bible, as it shows God and His love for us, is that we are told He loves us all, regardless of what we’ve done. He’s no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34.)

Luke chapter 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  My favorite part of that chapter is the story of the prodigal son.  The son had left home and wasted his inheritance (and life) with sinful living.  Eventually, though, the son “came to himself” and decided to go back home to his loving father.  The father was waiting and looking for his son’s return.  There was a great celebration because that son’s need was met by the father.

Sometimes we’re like that prodigal, or we know someone who is.  Don’t give up on them.  Keep praying for them and expecting their return to the Father.

I had a parishioner 40-plus years ago that when I first met her she had a grown daughter who had two pre-teen children. The parishioner told me her daughter had been rebellious and disrespectful to her parents all her life. They didn’t know how to handle her. The parishioner told me about her daughter, “I love her, but I don’t like her at all.”

I told the parishioner, “I know this sounds just like another cliché, but just keep loving her and let her know it.  And keep praying for her.” Several year’s later, that parishioner’s daughter made a remarkable change.  She became a faithful church member, went back to school and became a registered nurse, and was a wonderful mother to her children.

God is still a God of miracles!

A pastor friend of mine had a younger brother who developed what the doctors said was an incurable disease; one that would eventually be fatal.  The mother said she was not going to accept that medical opinion.  Every night for two years, that mother would miss the supper she had prepared for the rest of the family, and she would go to her bedroom to pray for the healing of her son.  Eventually that teenage son made a complete and miraculous recovery.

One of my favorite remarks in the Bible is the question: “Is anything too hard for God?”

If you have a need for someone, take it to God.  Prayer can move mountains.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley