2:27 p.m., March 30, 1981. President Ronald Reagan, the 70-year-old president, had only been in office for a few months. After delivering a speech to leaders of the AFL-CIO he came out of the Washington Hilton. Waiting about 15 feet away was John Hinckley Jr., holding a .22-caliber revolver. The president waved to the crowd. Then he stepped toward the open door of his armored limousine.
Six shots were fired and the nation froze. Press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty were all wounded. One bullet struck the limo’s armored glass; another ricocheted off the car. Jerry Parr the lead agent pushed the President into the limousine. A command was given and the car sprung forward. Then Jerry Parr noticed that the president’s mouth was frothing blood. He told the driver to rush them to the hospital.
Proper security procedure had been followed but still we came close to losing a president. Surrounded by Secret Service agents ready to offer their lives in sacrificial protection all precaution had not been enough. And yet, it is absolutely necessary. In like manner, following the supreme command to love our neighbor as ourselves may not always been enough, but it is our responsibility as Christ followers to watch out for others. We have the message of salvation,” the battlement for the roof,” (vs/ 8) that can keep them from falling to their eternal ruin.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
It is important to help people who are in need. I have helped many. And yet, government entitlements often bother me. That was the case this particular day. I was in Save-A-Lot grocery, standing in line to check out. I had five or six items in my arms. In front of me was a lady with a grocery cart full of items. Most of the items were things that 1) I either could not afford, or 2) that were what I considered non-essential food items.
I inwardly fumed as I saw a packet of food stamps sticking out of her purse. As a pastor, my salary was low, and we were very careful in how we spent our money. It didn’t seem right. As I considered these things I noticed that her food stamps had fallen unnoticed to the floor. At that moment, my fuming turned to debate. Do I pick up the food stamps and give them to her? Do I ignore it and see what happens when she gets to the counter and can’t pay for all of her groceries? What should I do? The debate was short lived. The Holy Spirit stung my conscience. I didn’t want to grieve Him above all. Reaching down I picked up the food stamps and gave them to her explaining that she has just dropped them. The pain in the matter is that it is better to suffer what sometimes seems to be an injustice than it is to risk displeasing the One we love supremely. Helping others will not always be convenient, cost effective, or comfortable. As followers of Christ, however, we look to Him for His nod of approval as we endeavor to help others.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:
Bruce, my neighbor, sat in his wheel chair. He had just come home from the rehab center. Due to an aggravated case of sugar diabetes his leg had been amputated at the knee. That was just part of his problem. While in rehab his wife, Nancy, who seemed to be a picture of health had a heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital. Shortly thereafter she died. Bruce had just come home to an empty house.
As we talked about his trouble we cried together. Placing my hand on his shoulder I said, “Bruce, can I pray with you.” Receiving his assent, I poured out my heart to God asking for God’s comfort and provision for my neighbor Bruce.
Is this something that is out of the ordinary for a Christian? It should not be. Others should be able to tell that we are Christ followers because of our love for one another, but they also should be able to tell that we are Christ followers because of our compassionate love for them.
Our mission field is normally within walking distance. Our mission field is often the next person we meet. To fulfill the royal law, Christ’s love must exude from our life. It is not something we only take to church. It is an expression of who we are in Christ.
By Dr. Gayle Woods