My father-in-law Jim recently passed away from cancer. Several weeks before his death, my wife received a call that her dad had checked into hospice. We began packing immediately and drove 800 miles through the night to North Carolina so that we could be sure to see him as soon as possible. In addition to our emotional worries regarding Jim’s health, there were a lot of practical matters to consider: Where would we stay? I had to get back to work. Would I rent a car or would we rent Megan one? For how long? At what financial cost? Who would help Megan with our girls?
All we focused on was getting to the hospice to see Jim, and before we even had a chance to start doing the math and thinking about money, Jim’s wife called with the news that her Sunday school class had met. Someone had an extra house outside of town that Megan and our girls could stay in indefinitely free of charge. We arrived at the hospice, spent the day there, and then another member of this Sunday school class met us so that we could follow her out to the home we were being lent. She did this after a full day’s work and the drive was at least thirty minutes out of her way, over an hour by the time she would get to her own house. When we arrived at the home, the owner was already there inside cleaning it and changing the sheets. Next, the two women took a grocery list Megan had been putting together and got ready to head to the store. On their way out, they asked if we had any need of an extra car. They paid for the groceries. Everything that had just begun to hang over us had suddenly been taken care of by these two women and the members of their Sunday school class. My family, especially Megan, was free to concentrate on what was important, to spend time with Jim. After I departed, this Sunday school group was in constant touch, offering to help, watching my girls, and just letting everyone know that they were around to love and help.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to church, and by that I don’t mean that my family doesn’t pray together, that we don’t talk about Jesus, or that I don’t read the Bible, but we haven’t been attending church as a family. What transpired in the day or so that we all rushed off to North Carolina caused me to begin to think just how much we were up on our own up in New England. We do have a growing group of friends, and I realize that it’s not just church folks who can rally around and help out those in need, but the kind people that were friends of Jim’s, those who came together as a part of Sunday school class, they all created for me one of the more convincing arguments I’ve experienced for church attendance. I thank them for their example of Biblical love. It’s an example I’ll be sure to try and put into practice myself.