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Finding Faith: Hatching an idea

Today, I’m going to give you some good news — tell you a good story. It’s time we start hearing about the positive in our world instead of the negative, so today I’m going to give you a small snapshot of one such instance.

It’s a true story that took place about two weeks ago outside of Richmond, Va. It’s a story that I played a very minor role in and certainly one in which I deserve no credit whatsoever.

You see, we were visiting some dear friends, John and Shannon, who reside in a little town called Goochland, about 20 miles outside of Richmond. And as we were staying with them over the weekend, the girls had schemed a great day of thrift store shopping on Saturday, but the boys had a different adventure planned. John’s brother, Jim, was barbecuing chicken in a pit at his house and needed some able bodied hands to assist. So we drove about an hour to Jim’s residence and when we arrived the festivities were well underway.

Jim and his neighbor were just removing the first round of chicken halves at 9 a.m. We had about five more racks to grill up and got right down to it. It took a couple of hours, but by 2:30 p.m., we had all the chicken cooked and ready to serve. In all we grilled about 175 chicken halves.

Although it was an incredibly hot and humid day, it was a wonderful experience and one that I’d like to take part in again. You see, there was a reason that we were barbecuing chicken on that hot day in the middle of summer.

Jim has a cousin whose five year old daughter was recently diagnosed with brain cancer — a heartbreaking condition at any age, let alone for a 5-year-old girl. And Jim wanted to do something. It didn’t matter that she lived a couple states away. It didn’t matter that he’d only ever barbecued chicken once before. And it didn’t matter that it was a lot of work on a hot and sticky day, he simply wanted to help.

So he barbecued — and it was absolutely beautiful!

Someone donated all of the chicken for the day. A relative volunteered to make all of the desserts. Another party gave ice and water. People routinely overpaid for their meals and instructed Jim to keep the change. Some people didn’t even want any chicken and simply stopped by to make a donation. One person gave $60. Good people doing good things to make their world a better place.

Jim saw a need and did what he could to help out. To my knowledge, Jim is not a follower of Jesus Christ. He didn’t do it because of some religious obligation. He didn’t do it because it was fun or easy or for the accolades. Simply put, he did it for love. And it was a good lesson for me to see and learn.

You see, too often I come up with excuses for not doing, instead of reasons for doing. I don’t take enough chances. I too often stand on the sidelines and cheer instead of getting in the game and taking the risk.

The apostle John challenges me with these words: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”

The world is full of people looking to do good. The world is looking for a reason to hope. The world is seeking love in many ways. And when people are genuinely looking for love, they will eventually find Jesus Christ.

It’s the essence of John 3:16 — that God loved the world enough to send His only son into it on our behalf as a sacrifice for us. It’s why John later writes that “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him.”

Do you live in love? Does God’s love live in you? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? In a world that desperately needs to hear good news, do you live and speak it, or are you comfortable on the sidelines of life and faith?

Sometimes even a pastor can be reminded of and challenged by the love of God through a chain smoking, foul mouthed, military man who simply chooses to live in love.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Scott Garman, pastor of Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Church in Mill Hall.

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