There was once a Christian man who worked hard every day and provided well for his family. He and his wife had several children and his career was going wonderfully. One day he fell very ill and could no longer work. His health continued to decline until he could no longer walk. He needed assistance for bathing, and every sort of personal care. His wife, faithful as ever, took care of him, but they were behind in their bills and feared they would lose their home.
They shared their situation at church, because the struggle was great. One Christian listened to their situation and said, “I have Bible study tonight, but I will be sure to be in contact with you and come and visit, and tonight our small group will be sure to pray for you.” Several days later this Christian stopped and visited the family. Having coffee, she listening to the wife tell of how hard it was to take care of all the children, and her husband. Then the Christian went on her way after vowing to pray for them regularly.
Another Christian heard of the situation and vowed to help. “I will arrange meals to be brought to your home, and you will be in our prayers” the person said. And they did. For several months people signed up to bring meals each Friday. The wife looked forward to Fridays when she would be able to have a meal for the family that was warm, and she even started to rearrange the hardest of her work for this day, taking advantage of this freed up time. But eventually, as the story grew old and stagnate to most, the meals stopped because nobody was signing up to deliver them. The Friday mission faded.
Yet another Christian quietly got together and secretly dropped gift bags at the door of their home. Sometimes it was meals, sometimes it was gifts for the children. But while the struggle continued on, this too came to a stop.
Another Christian, from another church heard the story and told the couple with great enthusiasm, “We will put you on the prayer list at our church too!”
Then one day at the grocery store the woman was trying to load her husband, and his special chair in their rusty van. The van was donated, but it was wonderful because it had a special wheelchair lift that helped them in taking the husband places. But the unplowed snow at the grocery store that day made the tires on the chair slip and her husband was too heavy for her and she couldn’t get him onto the lift. People walked by not paying any mind. As the woman, frustrated and feeling helpless began to cry, a Muslim walked up and asked if he could help. She allowed him, and as they loaded her husband, a conversation began that had them revealing a sliver of their difficulty. The Muslim asked for permission to follow them home and help them into the house with their stuff, and the couple eagerly accepted.
At their house, after unloading the groceries, and getting the husband and kids into the house, the couple asked the Muslim to stay for dinner as a way to thank him. He was grateful for the offer, but he first had to call and let his family know he would be late. He didn’t want them to worry. Throughout dinner the couple told their story, and how they came from being an average successful American family, to being on the brink of losing their home. At the end of the evening they thanked the Muslim profusely for his help as they sent him on his way.
Over the course of the next few months the Muslim continued to visit the family every morning before he had to work, and every evening after work in order to help with anything he could. He played with the kids, did laundry, scrubbed floors, ran for groceries, scrubbed toilets, and many other humbling tasks. After working hard each day, he would run home to care for his own family. Over those months the Muslim sold many of his family’s possessions raising a majority of the money himself, and a little from others, he managed to raise enough to pay off the couples home. It took most of his family’s possessions because they were not a rich family.
His job offered him a 401k plan that he had been storing money up in for years, in anticipation of retiring. He cashed it out paying the penalties on it. He used the money to put into an account to hire help for the family. He told them of the account and vowed that he would help them as long as he was needed, that they should only hire help for the mid day, that he would be there morning and night as long as he was needed. When he couldn’t be there, his wife had agreed to come. So the Muslim continued to wake up early, meet his families needs, rush off to the home of the Christians, and help them. Then he’d head to work, and stop again for a few hours on the way back home. Each paycheck he would devote a portion of his pay to the account set up to aid in the care of the man.
Which of these people, do you suppose, Jesus is most likely to say acted like a brother? Which are you most like?