Pray for Margaret!
By Colonel Bill D. Luttrell –
God sent Margaret to our front door the other day. It’s unusual to have a visitor in this way, for several reasons. First, our Army quarters is a condominium (or townhouse or rowhouse, depending on what part of the country you live in). We usually enter and exit from our garage off the alley, so our summons to the front door was somewhat unexpected.
Second, we are not usually home during the day. On this particular day, my wife was home while some repairs were being made to one of the appliances in the kitchen. The doorbell rang and there was Margaret.
A very pleasant lady in her …well…middle age…explained that she had just moved in next door and was anxious to meet us. She shared a brief history of her life, where she had lived previously and why she had moved. Her immediate joy and security was “Tuffy,” a small dog with a lively manner.
Gwen joined in the conversation by explaining our ministries in The Salvation Army and a brief explanation of what we do in this organization. Now…this will usually generate one of two responses from a stranger. One, they will be confused in their effort to understand “ministry” in The Salvation Army. Or two, they will simply ignore the comments and continue to reach out for more conversation. Margaret did the latter. She had found a friend and she was delighted. Full names and telephone numbers were exchanged, and Margaret departed with a new sense of confidence and assurance.
Following dinner, as we replayed the events of our day, Gwen shared Margaret’s story. Our immediate conclusion was, another person added to our People Count! list. How would we “bring her in”? Pray for her…invite her to a Women’s Ministries meeting…talk to her about the love of Jesus! Yes!! God had sent her to our front door because she counts in his Kingdom, and he wants her included. We do not know specifically what God has in store for her life, but he does have a plan for her, and he is willing to use us to help process it.
Jesus is a wonderful example to us in caring for people. On one of his journeys from Judea to Galilee, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field that Jacob had given his son, Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon. (According to the story as told by Eugene Petersen in The Message). You see how God sets up opportunity for us.
You know the rest of the story. The Samaritan woman came to draw water. He engaged the woman in conversation, acknowledging her need and circumstances. He ignored the taboo present at that time which forbade a Jewish man to talk with a Samaritan. He offered her the “Living Water”…eternal life. The woman, so astonished, claimed the gift for herself, and in so doing admitted to Jesus her infidelity. Five husbands! So what! God’s grace is sufficient, and she was sent forth as a person who matters in his Kingdom.
Jesus shared many encounters with individuals during his early ministry. He was not “put off” by their misunderstanding of who he was and who he represented. He was consistent in his mission to demonstrate God’s love to those who would benefit from it. Most of the time the people Jesus spoke with were seeking something; often times they didn’t know what they needed. He came to them and they were blessed.
He still comes to us today, individually, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And he still knows that we count.
Each person is so important to God. The people are out there…in the neighborhood…school…at work…on the street…at the gym…at the “well”…waiting to share their troubles and needs. God wants us to show them his love and tell them about his son Jesus–because people do count!
Pray for Margaret! And pray for us, too, as we continue to minister in the name of Christ.