"Would you like some help with that," he asked?
Seven years. 12 moves. And this was the first time anyone had ever offered. We must have been a sight! The U-Haul was crammed with all our worldly possessions. I was five months pregnant, dragging a box into our new rental in Virginia Beach while three-year-old Jonathan was running acting like he was helping Dad. Here we were, just the three of us, unloading a moving truck, again. Scott had already reported to his new duty station, the USS Boulder-LST 1190.
He introduced himself as Pete and he was a Marine. He helped Scott unload the truck and get everything in the house exactly where it needed to be. He gave us several hours of his time that day. That evening as we sat exhausted trying to figure out what to do for dinner, a knock came on the door. It was Pete again. This time his wife Cindy was with him. He held a tray of what looked like a three-course meal. Spaghetti, salad, bread, dishes, silverware, dessert, and even water in beautiful crystal glasses. We were in shock! We couldn’t believe the way this family treated us. They didn’t know us from Adam. Yet, they treated us like royalty. What would make people do such a thing?
Over the weeks and months that followed, Cindy and Pete invited us to their home. We shared life with them. The more they loved on us the more they made us curious. They weren’t just being neighborly; they genuinely cared about us. It was so sincere that when my Dad (a devout Muslim) came to stay with us for a month, he said, “there is something very different about your neighbors.”
Slowly, and gently they began to share with us what that difference was, how God had changed their lives. They showed us the love of Jesus before telling us about Him. They didn’t just tell us we needed Jesus. They showed how very different they are because of Jesus. They gave us a beautiful leather- bound Bible, and explained how it was separated into the Old and New Testament. They told us stories of the people of the Bible. It wasn’t until we asked that they invited us to church.
We didn’t become believers until several years later when we moved to Nebraska. But I know without a doubt that the reason we were open to Jesus was because of the seed of love Pete and Cindy had sown in our lives while they were our neighbors.
I am still learning from their example of love in my life, even though that was 24 years ago. I am usually willing to help others and it is all because of the love they showed. They helped me understand what Jesus meant when he said, "Love one another, even as I have loved you."
Helen Fagan is a wife, mother, leadership scholar and a connector of people. Iranian by birth, American by choice. Muslim by birth, follower of Jesus by grace. Her webpage can be found at www.HelenFagan.com
This article is part of a series at The High Calling on "The Local Church Equipping Us in Our Vocations." It seems that in many church contexts, what we do Monday through Friday is the least important thing. But shouldn't Christ be the Lord of our work as much as the Lord of our church's ministry programs, our marriages, and our families? Here at The High Calling we not only want to equip and empower the laity to live out their faith in their vocations, but we want to inspire church leaders toequip their people to do so as well. How can church leaders help their congregants to steward their vocations? How can church communities embrace a discipleship paradigm that includes the workplace? If you want to inspire people in your church community to embrace how the vocations of lay people glorify God, why not encourage them by sharing links to these articles in emails, Facebook posts, or through some other social media?