When I was walking to the bus stop to pick up the kids a few days ago… I almost tripped over a three-foot lizard!
I am not joking! It was sitting in the grass right next to the road on a vacant lot by my house. This thing was as thick around as a baseball bat. It must have escaped (or was let loose) from a home in the area. So, the first place I called was Animal Control, but there was no answer… apparently there is never an animal ’emergency’ enough to warrant a basic cell phone or remote page (but then again… it is the government). So, I left a message indicating what I had found. You would think that my find was strange and radical enough that someone would call me back… ummm… no. I never got a return call. I also called the local police (non emergency number), they also, declined to come out, but they gave me the number for the wildlife division of the county government. Surely, the police insisted, the wildlife division would be the ones to respond. I called… and the phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing… no one ever answered and there was never an opportunity to leave a message.
Whenever I deal with these off-beat government agencies (like Animal Control or this ‘Wildlife Division”) I am reminded of two scary things: first, they don’t seem to care enough to be responsive and, second, they aren’t prepared enough to be responsive. Heck… they are not even responsive enough to return a call or turn on the answering machine.
Its not just dealing with the government… but just making our way through everyday life we realize that most people just don’t care enough to be bothered. Everyone is so busy, has their own agendas, and is so wrapped up in their daily lives that when someone or something unexpected comes in… we are unprepared to deal with it. Whether its the elderly woman on the side of the road with a flat tire that we didn’t stop to help (yeah… its happened, admit it), or a customer or person at our job that needs a little extra help and we don’t go the extra mile (yeah… its happened, admit it), or seeing a runaway dog and not tyring to help it find its home (yeah… its happened, admit it), we are unprepared (and somewhat unwilling) to respond to other’s needs.
Even though there are a lot of hypocritical jerks that give the church a bad name… there is nowhere else in the world that a person can expect to be ‘responded to’ with love and care… like the Christian church. Jesus says, in John 13:34-35:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
The central activity of the people called Christians… is to love. We love by responding to the needs and situations of those around us… we don’t just keep going, ignoring another’s need for help. If you are a Christian… you should be taking this seriously.
If you are not a Christian, and you are wondering whether its true… give Barnegat Anew a call!