I know... the title sounds trite and corny, but it really fits my post today. God wants us to do what ever we can to help others. Especially, when it comes to helping people get their basic needs. My list of friends on Facebook is not huge. It contains quite a few friends from high school and some of the people with whom I have maintained contact since retiring from the military. Many of my my friends are connected to me by way of ministry. All of these people compose quite a diverse demographic. The come from all races, geographic and economic backgrounds. Some have made a very good living for themselves, others live very modestly, and a few are actually homeless. I try to do what I can for most anyone who is in distress. It was just this situation that nearly stumbled my love for helping my fellow man.
A while back, a fellow chaplain friend announced that she was on the verge of homelessness. Having had her on my Facebook friend list for quite a while, I had no proble trying help raise enough money to her and her granddaughter get into some kind of safe situation. I went to Go Fund Me and set up a fundraising campaign to help raise the money my friend said was needed. I even offered her an opportunity to work with me to raise money for her ministry for this great internet company I have affiliated with. The donations didn't exactly start flowing in. After a few weeks, I had manages to recieve $55.00; a far cry from the $5,000.00 that was needed to get my friend safe. In one of my many pleas for donanations, I managed to misquote a scripture; I used a phrase out of context. I usually go to God's Word and check myself, but I was trying to get my request out to all who could see it. The was a great error on my part and was eventually my undoing.
In a matter of two days, a group of people who followed my friend took issue with my error. I can handle that. A private exhortation was called for. We are to correct each other in love. What happened was nothing short of a witch-hunt. That one error turned into a complete tear-down of my integirity, motives... even my Christianity. I was accused of heresy, stealing and using this person's situation for my own material gain. How my taking a small phrase out of context turned into being a conman I'll never know. I was very discouaged. I never wanted to do that again for anybody. I handled it as humbly as my anger and disappointment would let me. If any of you really know me, I was ready to flame those people big time, but I held back. I shutdown the fundraiser and cashed out the little bit of money there was to the chaplain I was trying to help. I was done. I didn't want to help anybody in that way ever again.
Later that night when things got quiet and I was ready to go to sleep, I asked God all about the situation. Where I went wrong? DId I do the wrong thing? Did I do it in the wrong way? The guilt list goes on and on. In time, I realized, with some very lucid clarity, that this was just one of many opportunities I would have to help others. The only thing I did wrong was not fact check my update with my Bible. Otherwise, I did nothing wrong. The devil used other Chritians and their protectiveness of my friend to tear me down. What we should do is to deny the devil any satisfaction. I do now as I did then, to tell the devil to flee my ministry, those around me, and those to whom I may minsiter in the future to flee and never return in the name of Jesus. It will be a constant struggle, but My God is bigger than that situation. As long as I do things the way he wants me to, things will turn out for His Glory in to long run. People will be helped in the name of Jesus.
Lessons learned: 1. FACT CHECK BIBLE REFERENCES. 2. Don't let others, including other Christians get in the way of trying to God's will. 3. Don't stop believing that ministry and serving others(and God in the process) is the right thing to do; even if you stumble or fail. You just have to trust that God is over all things. Continue to serve... Jesus said we would run into many obstacles in our ministries. With His power and remaining fithful to His calling, we can continue until he calls us home.
Be Safe, Be Blessed.