It started innocently enough. Several years ago, a friend offered to take my daughter Jamie out for a jet ski ride in the sound behind our house. They jumped aboard with nothing but the clothes on their backs and off they went. After a wonderful hour or so of tooling around, suddenly the engine conked out. They drifted for a while, and the friend finally got out and towed the jet ski with Jamie on board to the nearest shore line. It was seemingly uninhabited, which presented a problem since neither of them had a cell phone.
As they sat on the shore trying to figure out what to do, a pickup truck suddenly approached them from the woods. A man got out and asked them what they were doing. They showed him the broken down jet ski, and asked if they could borrow a phone to call a parent.
“So you didn’t come here on purpose?” the fellow asked.
“No,” replied Jamie. “We were just riding in the sound and the engine went out.”
“So you don’t know where you are?” He asked.
Jamie’s friend, more familiar with the area, looked around and replied, “I think we’re on Roanoke Island?”
The man then relaxed and said, “Yes, Roanoke Island. This is Andy Griffith’s estate.”
Convinced that they had not come to trespass or intrude, he offered his cell phone and Jamie called me to come pick them up. She and her friend then walked out to the road where she had instructed me to get them.
While they were waiting for me, the pickup came out a second time. This time a woman got out and introduced herself as Mr. Griffith’s assistant. She handed each one a brown paper bag containing peanut butter crackers and a drink.
“Mr. Griffith wanted you to have a snack while you wait. He thought you might be hungry.”
Andy Griffith died a few years later, and this moment of graciousness extended to two stranded kids will stay with us forever.
Matthew 25:35-40 The Message (MSG)
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
Such a beautiful invitation to share what we have with those who have not. That plate of cookies for an elderly neighbor, the casserole taken to a sick friend, the offer to feed your friend’s dog so she can visit her family….all of these are ways that we serve the Lord by caring for those whom he loves. This could not be more clear.
The opposite is also very clear:
41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
Let’s take a positive lesson from this. Where is God calling you to extend yourself, and I mean extend yourself, for someone else’s behalf? People on your street, in the grocery store, walking on the side of the road, in the inner city, at our nation’s southern border…God’s people are hungry, thirsty, shivering and sick everywhere. What will you do about it?
Decide today to be the one who offers the peanut butter crackers and a drink in a paper bag. Be like Andy. Be a sheep. Be like Jesus.
Truck with hurricane supplies sent from the Outer Banks to New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.