SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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NOTHING SMELLS WORSE THAN DEAD FAITH

I found this story posted on a website by Morgan Wheeler. Being an Army veteran, it struck deep in my heart. I hope that it inspires you to think twice before you see someone in need and don’t take the time to help because you’ve got other things to do.

Morgan said that he walked out of Walmart one day, got in his car, and began to back out. That’s when he saw a man in a wheelchair passing behind him on the way to the store. As he watched him, he noticed that the man was missing his right leg from the knee down and was wearing, what appeared to be, old, government-issued, combat boots. Morgan guessed that he was in his late sixties/early seventies and seemed to be stopping to take a break.

He had not realized that Morgan had started his car and was attempting to back out, so when he saw that Morgan was trying to leave, he waved in an apologetic manner and rolled forward three more times and took another break. Morgan pulled his car up the inches he had previously backed up, put it in Park, turned off the engine, and got out. He walked up to him and introduced himself. I asked him if he could assist him in any way. The man responded somewhat grumpily and said that he was doing just fine and was not buying much anyway.

Morgan, being as stubborn as he is, insisted and proceeded to push him and tell him a little about himself. When they got to the door, them man interrupted Morgan and said that he only needed help to the door, to which Morgan continued where he had left off before the man interrupted him.

Morgan shared with him about his farm and horses. As they went through the doors, Morgan continued to push him and talk to him. They reached the produce section and Morgan asked him to tell him a little something about himself. He reluctantly looked at Morgan and began telling him where he lived and that he just recently lost his wife. Morgan asked him if he was a veteran, to which he replied that he was – but with pain on his face, so Morgan changed the subject and asked if he had made a shopping list.

He handed Morgan a list with only four items on it: peanut butter, soup, bread, and bananas. Once they got those items, Morgan asked if he needed the essentials: milk, eggs, butter. He told him that he might not be able to make it home before they went bad. So Morgan questioned how he got to the store. He told me that he had wheeled himself from his house to the main highway, and then hitchhiked with a trucker to the parking lot. So Morgan called a taxi for him and grabbed the essentials plus a few other things and put them in the cart.

When he saw Morgan place a gallon of milk in the cart, the old Army Vet was crying. People were passing by us, looking sideways at him. Morgan knelt down and asked him what was wrong and he replied, “You’re doing way too much for an old man that you don’t even know and can’t pay you back.” Morgan told him that the family he was raised in always tried to help others, no matter what the task and that meant they never met a stranger. Morgan also told him that he deserved everything he was doing for him because he fought for his freedom and sacrificed so much. They made it to the check-out counter and Morgan paid for his groceries, even though the old man tried to talk him out of it.

When they got outside, they waited for the taxi together. He thanked Morgan over and over again and appeared to have developed a much better happier mood than when they first met. When the taxi arrived, Morgan helped him load his groceries and wheelchair into the taxi and asked the driver to take him home and help him into his house with his groceries. Morgan then reached into his wallet and took out the only cash he had – $44, which the old man reluctantly took with great gratitude. Morgan told him again, “Thank you for your service to your country,” before closing the door. Tears formed again in the old Vet’s eyes as he thanked Morgan one last time and said, “God bless you.”

Morgan returned to his car, and could not help but weep. How many people passed him by and would have continued to pass him while he struggled? How many people would be willing to give their money to ready trashy magazines or go see a filthy movie and not help a veteran pay for his groceries? Today was a truly humbling experience for Morgan, and he considered himself extremely blessed to have the capability of understanding what is truly important in this world.

To Morgan, that man was a HERO, and there are far too many who think otherwise. God bless the men and women who have fought for our right to pick our own heroes and thank God for the people who know what a hero is. A scripture verse came to Morgan’s mind as he drove home. It reads, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”1

I know that we all feel compassion for anyone we see who has a visible physical handicap. But how many do we see who have invisible psychological handicaps? There are lots of handicaps we could choose to name. But after reading this story, I’m persuaded that there is no invisible spiritual handicap that a believer can have that is worse than “dead faith.” And while many invisible handicaps may be kept secret, dead faith is one that can be seen whenever Christians are confronted by what Morgan experienced. It may be invisible, but it is hard to keep hidden. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1James 2:14-17

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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