Jesus sent these twelve out and commanded them, “Don’t go among the Gentiles or into a Samaritan city. Go instead to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. As you go, make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, and throw out demons. You received without having to pay. Therefore, give without demanding payment. Workers deserve to be fed, so don’t gather gold or silver or copper coins for your money belts to take on your trips. Don’t take a backpack for the road or two shirts or sandals or a walking stick.
On May 1, 2010, I was stranded at the office and fell asleep wrapped in a tablecloth with the constant sound of sirens in the distance. By the afternoon of May 2, it became clear that thousands of families’ lives would never be the same after up to 20 inches of rain had fallen. The flooding that took place from May 1 – 5, affected some 60,000 families in West and Middle Tennessee. On May 2, I fell to my knees and wept . . . wept for the loss of life, loss of property, loss of “normal”. . . wept with the hopeless task that lay before us to help respond to the enormous needs . . . and wept selfishly that I was not personally up to the task.
Sometimes, you just have to go, and figure it out when you get there. If we faced the monumental tasks of life, relying only on what we had in our hands or knew in our heads, the odds are that we would never even bother starting. Sometimes God just sends us, and we have to trust that what and who we need will meet us when we get there.
Ultimately, the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences were able to serve Christ and neighbor through UMCOR supplies, cleanup, case management, rebuilding, counseling, and more for over 8,000 families. This was possible because people gave, and people served by the thousands. In addition, other churches, other non-profits, and government agencies did their part in a collaborative approach. While more could have been done, the recovery of families and communities was astronomically greater than I could conceive in my small view, as I wept on the floor of my office on May 2.
The Presence of God, Faith in Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit can achieve miracles! So, sometimes, we just have to go, and believe that God will work out the rest when we get there. That is missional excellence, when we depend upon the indwelling Presence of Christ to “work it out” when we get there!
Lord, help us respond to your call, not in our own strength, but out of our faith that you will use us to accomplish your healing work in a hurting and broken world.
In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The Rev. Jason Brock
Congregational Development, Mission, and Disaster Ministries, Tennessee Conference