This isn't only true with "church people" of course, but "church people" should know better because we follow a Savior who says that when we help those in need, we are actually ministering to him. (Mt 25:13-46). Even worse, we can think of people's needs as a distraction or an interruption of more important work.
A couple hours ago as I was working on my message for tomorrow, I got a phone call from someone who has volunteered to help locate a missing person. Flyers needed to be printed. I didn't know much about the situation but I decided to go and print them. Here's a version of the flyer:
I said "yes" to printing these especially today because I can see a connection between the passage I'm studying in advance of tomorrow (Nehemiah 5) and the need that came to me a few minutes ago.
I hope I will always see the needs of others as a part of God's call on my lives, and not simply an interruption. To paraphrase Marley's Ghost from A Christmas Carol:
“Mankind is my business. The common welfare is my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, are all my business. The dealings of my trade (in this case, the work I am doing to get ready for tomorrow's message) is but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"A person might think that preparing to preach the Word is much more important than printing flyers, but it's my belief, as I have studied God's Word and prayed, that God often brings into our lives exactly what God desires that we do. That's what happened to Nehemiah in chapter 5 as people brought the needs and injustices of the poor to his attention. Nehemiah was called by God to step away from the important and holy business of building the wall around Jerusalem so that the poor would not be ignored.
I'm looking forward to sharing more about this tomorrow. Join us tomorrow at Crossroads if you can, or listen the recording we hope to post afterward.