God’s Work In Other Places
Faith Is More Caught Than Taught
Many are concerned about leaving a legacy but many are talking about a statue or a major accomplishment. My hope is leaving an example. This was fortified on an afternoon on the road to New Orleans and a rebuild project. There were three pickups loaded for the work ahead of us. Some were grown men and others were teenagers eager to help build a house that had been destroyed by the flood and hurricane. An earlier crew had completed the dry in in four days. That means they began with nothing but cinder blocks and build the wooden floors, the outer walls, and the roof. Our task was to do the inside walls.
On the way, something marvelous happened on Interstate 20 just east of Birmingham, Alabama. The usual speed was about 70 but all of a sudden, the traffic slowed to a grinding halt. It took a little while for the news to drift up and down the Interstate that a major wreck had just taken place. The sight of helicopters flying and landing ahead of us was a foreboding message of life and death. The traffic was stopped for three hours. Another problem was the intense heat of an Alabama summer on a paved Interstate that only reflected the heat.
I happened to be the driver of the lead pickup and had nothing better to do than watch the cars and the people around me. I noticed the car just to my left held four people. The driver was the father and his wife sat next to him. In the back seat was two children under the age of ten. The woman wiped sweat from her face and it flowed profusely. It was obvious that she was thirsty and needed a drink of water. Our pickup contained an ice cooler that was loaded with bottled water to be used at the work site below New Orleans. I reached down and pulled out four bottles, opened my door, and walked to the window of the car next to me. “Ma’am, may I offer you a cold bottle of water?”
She looked at me and asked, “How much is it.”
“Ma’am, there is no charge for it. Jesus provided it to use to use for people who are in need. You’re welcome to it.”
She took the water gratefully and made sure her children had a drink before she took one. When I turned back to the pickup I was not ready for what I saw. The two boys riding with me were gone and I thought why would they leave and not stay put? I looked around, a little angry, and then saw them at the second pickup. They took a larger cooler full of bottled water and were walking up and down the traffic handing out water to anyone that wanted one. They walked about a quarter mile down the traffic stop and handed out water until it was completely gone. I was so proud of those two boys and reminded of the principle that faith and service are more caught than taught. What better lesson than observation?
We built the house to within 90% of completion. There was a pickup on site that was buried up to the windows. When I shared my regrets for the gentleman losing his truck he told me that it wasn’t his. It was dropped there during the flood. When the house was completed the man and his family had a new home at no cost to them. A larger Christian organization provided the materials and we, along with other volunteers, provide the labor. We paid our own way down and provided our own need for food and supplies, so that the people we were helping were not burdened by the need to do so. Pointe La Hache in Plaquemines Parish will forever be imbedded in my memory bank, but more than that the sight of two teenagers meeting the need of many people and they were not asked to do so. They simply stepped up to the need and served. What a legacy.