Fishers UMC Blog

Caring for the poor, needy, suffering and outcasts

A few weeks ago, I taught a Sunday school lesson to the Jr. High students.  The lesson was about caring for the poor, needy, suffering and outcasts.  The person who wrote the lesson stated that Jesus is drawn toward people who are hurting and suffering because they truly understand their need for him. The author went on to say that they don’t “have it all together,” and they recognize their need for a Savior.   Part of our discussion focused on this idea and the questions: “Do those who are hurting and suffering understand their need for a Savior more?” and “Do we as Christians rely more on Jesus when life is challenging as opposed to when everything is going well?” 

As I prepared for the lesson, I thought about those I encounter on a weekly basis.  The first to come to mind were friends and family followed by the families I see at the food pantry.  Many would consider the families I encounter each week at the food pantry to be in the poor, needy or suffering category.  While there is truth to this, there is much more to each and every person the advocates meet with.  We get to see something more than the need that brings them to the pantry for food.  We get to read the section of the form where you can request prayer.  Each person can choose to be prayed with during their visit, request prayer over the next month or both.  This section often reveals an amazing relationship between the person we are sitting with and our God.  On one women’s first visit she wrote, “For God’s will and protection from spiritual attacks.  Eyes to see them for exactly what they are when they come.”  A very stressed woman the day before a major surgery wrote, “ I know that God has control of every situation that’s present in our lives.”  A gentleman who trusted in God while living in his car struggled when diagnosed with terminal cancer.  After some serious doubts if there is a God his only request was, “God’s will be done.”

We also have the privilege of participating in some beautiful conversations. One conversation that comes to mind is when one woman shared a prayer God whispered to her to bring her comfort when she found out her daughter had stopped the chemo treatment that was not working and would only be a part of this world for a few more months.  She prayed to him for “An ocean of love, a lake of compassion, a mountain of joy and the energy of the wind”.   The peace radiating from her as she shared these special words showed an amazing connection and level of trust in her Lord and creator.  Months later her daughter miraculously received clear scans and is doing well!

The last glimpse into the families we serve each week is about a woman who, on each visit, would tell the advocate she met with about how Papa was working in her life.  When she first came to us she was living in her car but would talk of the lessons Papa was teaching her and how he was providing for her even in her current circumstances.  As we continued to walk along side of her during this difficult time we saw Papa provide a roof over her head and continue to answer the prayers lifted up on her behalf until she no longer needed our assistance.  To this day she is the only person I have met who feels God’s love in such a deep and profound way to refer to him as Papa.  The joy radiating from her each time she spoke of the great love Papa showed for her in all situations spread to all of us who met with her.

I am not sure if those considered by many as poor, needy or suffering truly understand their need for a Savior anymore more than anyone else, but I am sure the verse “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" holds true at the Come To Me Food Pantry.

Nicole W.
Head Food Pantry Advocate

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All I Really Need to Know…

I never went to Kindergarten.  When I was five years old, Kindergarten was optional, and my parents opted not to send me.  Later in life, they would opt to not send me to college, either – but that is material for an entirely different blog.

In an age when we literally begin our children’s educations prior to their first birthdays, I began my education three months after I turned six, which put me behind by at least five years.  That’s a lot of time to make up…  So when a friend shared a book with me by Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” I was confused about many things.  Of his 16 rules, here are a few:

  1. Share everything.  Maybe that should have been, “Share most things.”  Share toys, puppy kisses, hugs and laughter.  Never share a cold – that is simply not cool.  The same goes for measles, chicken pox and stomach flu.  But never EVER share a lie or an untruth.  The 9th commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” and believe me, it is NOT cool to disobey commandments.
  2. Play fair.  Had I written it, it undoubtedly would have said, “Play fairly,” but it’s a great rule, nonetheless, and when followed carefully, can make the world a much more fun place in which to live and play.
  3. Don’t hit people. I think that should be expanded to include, “don’t hit, push, trip, kick, choke, drown, shoot, run over, stab, poison or otherwise injure people.”  My way would have never fit on a tablet, but it does lead us to the 6th commandment, “thou shalt not kill.”  Some versions of the Bible have been updated to read “thou shalt not murder” but since I didn’t go to kindergarten, I’m not sure of the difference.  Both ways, someone ends up dead.
  4. Put things back where you found them and
  5. Clean up your own mess. Are these two not the exact same thing? 
  6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.   No exceptions.  To take something that doesn’t belong to you is one of the most uncool things anyone can do.  The 8th commandment tells us:  “Do not steal.”  That is so straight forward, it requires no further comment.
  7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. A good, honest “I’m so sorry” goes a long way in mending hearts and relationships.  It amazes me that those two words – I’m sorry – are so difficult for children and adults alike.  In Fulghum’s words, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart.”

There are more rules – really cool ones - but you get the message.  Some seem to parallel the rules we learn from the bible - not all of them, but some.  And the remaining – those which don’t appear anywhere in scripture – are pretty good suggestions, as well:

  1. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Well, perhaps not so good for your waistline, but they certainly are good for the soul.
  2. Take a nap every afternoon. I don’t know how anyone can even argue with this one, it’s so obvious!
  3. No matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

One last thought from Fulghum:  “If the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied… everything is possible.”  Albert Einstein one of the smartest people in the world, said, “Imagination is more important than information.”  I’m not sure I believe that, but I’m sure I don’t not believe it…

An abundance of peace and love to each of you!

Kim Manka
Administrative Assistant/Facility Scheduler
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