Last Saturday, I had a wonderful experience in the midst of absolute tragedy. It was an unfortunate task but an incredible honor to officiate a memorial service for a young mother and wife. Her death was sudden, unexplained, and unexpected to say the least. Naturally, the family and the community around them (myself included) were saddened and heartbroken. However, what I witnessed in our community was astounding. In fact, I think the Haslet community as a whole operated the way the local church was designed to from the beginning.
LOVE WITH ACTIONS
It is always encouraging, but really not much of a shock to see people in this tight-knit community come together to meet the needs of one of our own. But this time was different. One of the needs provided for this time was a bit unique– they put on a funeral. Yes, they put on a funeral! The memorial service was held at our Fellowship of the Parks Haslet campus, but the bulk of the work was done by co-workers, friends, and neighbors of the family. About 20 people were waiting for me when I arrived at the church Saturday afternoon. They received floral deliveries, prepped the lobby, greeted, served as ushers, set up food, handed out programs, worked the media booth, and more. The Bible instructs us to “not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1John3:18). The actions of the friends, family, co-workers and neighbors spoke loudly about the love they had for this family.
DO NOT GET TIRED OF DOING GOOD
You might be wondering who thought to recruit 20 people to plan a memorial service. And the answer makes perfect sense. The one who spearheaded this whole thing is man who was cared for by this community when he lost his own young wife just a couple years ago. He’s just one of many others who have been the recipient of local community outreach. I have lived in the Sendera Ranch community in Haslet for 11 years and have lost count of how many times I’ve seen our neighbors come together to support each other. As a great example of what we as the church have been called to do, these neighbors have NOT gotten tired of coming together to do good for others. The Apostle Paul urges us to work together for the good of all and to not let fatigue get in the way of doing good works (Gal 6:8-10).
BE GENEROUS TO ANYONE IN NEED
We are told in the book of Acts that the first churches, or community of believers, sold their property and possessions to give to anyone in need. I’ve seen hundreds of people (not an exaggeration) show up to a fundraiser for a single family, yearly traditions started to honor a military family who lost a son, and tradesmen provide free services to those that couldn’t afford it.
There are numerous stories of houses being furnished for single moms, kids being clothed, school supplies being purchased, rent being paid, jobs being offered, and even people taking others into their homes for a spell. This happens for the guy that everyone knows, the quiet family you never hear from, and the family that just moved in. It is amazing how one person’s troubles can bring out the best in a large number of families. And it’s unfortunate that this is not always the case everywhere.
I am incredibly grateful that our church gets to actively participate in an environment such as Haslet. I’m grateful because I know that this kind of large-scale community doesn’t just happen. It isn’t just an instant reaction. It takes intentional and committed individuals who genuinely care about following Jesus and loving people.
I’ll leave you with a prayer and question:
For this community and our church alike will never get tired of doing good, being generous to anyone in need, and loving with more than words.
And my question:
How are you participating in and creating this kind of environment in your home, neighborhood, workplace, and your church?