“Pop, our car has broken down. Can you come and get us?”
That was the distress phone call I received a few weeks ago.
My grandson, Tommy, and granddaughter, Kimberly, are students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and were heading to our home for the holidays.
“Where are you?” I immediately asked.
“We’re on the shoulder of I-64 somewhere between Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia,” Kim explained. Then she added, “I called Dad in Florida, and he arranged for a tow-truck to come get us, but he said to call you about getting to Louisville.”
Now, I really love my grandchildren and will do almost anything for them, but I was battling the flu and coughing like crazy. It was cold and rainy outside, and I had just hunkered down to watch the University of Louisville football game on TV.
Those kids were four hours away—that’s an eight-hour round trip. If I left immediately, I wouldn’t be back home until midnight at the earliest.
My mind started racing. Surely there was a better solution. They needed immediate assistance.
I remembered my friend Steve Bachman has a brother-in-law, Joey Holland, who lives in Charleston. Holland is a former University of Kentucky basketball player, a dedicated Christian … and he owns a car dealership. At the very least, he could provide counsel about how these two students, both too young to be eligible to rent a car, could get back on the road.
Steve answered his phone immediately, and I explained my situation in 30 seconds. He called me back in two minutes and said, “Have the tow truck take the car to Holland Chevrolet in Charleston.” Then he asked, “What kind of car is it?”
Boy, I hated to admit it wasn’t a Chevy.
“They deal with all models,” Steve assured me. “Joey will have the service department look at it next week and loan them a car to drive home in the meantime.”
My grandchildren were soon on their way and arrived only an hour and a half later than anticipated.
I gave thanks that day that many Christians have a network of friends all over the world. There are many Godly people who are more than willing to lend a hand to someone in need.
The Bible commands us to show hospitality to strangers and kindness to the hurting. Over the years, I’ve seen that instruction repeatedly obeyed in both simple and dramatic ways.
I get irritated when I hear skeptics attack the church as “full of hypocrites,” “not caring for the poor,” “self-centered” and “building elaborate buildings to feed their egos.”
Those who make these kinds of statements don’t have a clue about the plethora of unpublicized deeds of kindness shown to desperate people every day by God’s people, the church.
Newspapers feature stories of preachers who abuse church funds and priests who have been arrested for sexual molestation. Those are tragic abuses of trust, but they are the exception, not the rule.
For every failure, there are scores of believers who faithfully carry out Jesus’ command to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the wounded. And that’s a secondary mission to preaching the good news of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Lord described these unnoticed saints as “the salt of the earth” in Matthew 5:13.
Salt doesn’t get much credit. No one gets up from the table and says, “Wow! That was the best salt I’ve ever tasted!”
Salt doesn’t get many accolades, but it adds flavor to food, provides essential dietary nutrients and enhances our lives daily. Christians who serve others deserve more kudos than they get, even when it’s something as nondescript as helping two stranded college kids get home for the holidays … especially when those kids are my grandchildren!
Bob Russell is retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church and founder of Bob Russell Ministries.