After a hard day and a bad night, I was late getting up the other morning. Already behind, I decided to start a load of laundry before dressing. As I stood there in the laundry room I thought I heard someone outside calling from a long way off. I almost didn’t—I was behind and did not need the interruption--but finally I opened the door. Calling is not the word. Screaming is more like it. “No! No! Oh noooooo!” a voice I finally realized was my neighbor’s pierced the morning mist through the woods and across the creek.
As fast as I could, I pulled on a pair of jeans, grabbed a sweater, slipped on shoes, and put the cell phone in my pocket. Despite the early morning gloom of the woods, I made it to the creek without stumbling. Providence, surely, since I trip over everything now. Across the narrow stream the house stood quiet and peaceful. Either everything was okay, or everyone was already dead.
Not being one of those stupid girls in the horror movies who go down into the basement to check out the noise without a second thought, I stood there watching as I called on the cell. No answer. Well, that wasn’t good. So I crossed the wooden bridge and opened the gate.
Now I had to be on the lookout as well for the Great Dane, whose ears peak at eyeball level on me. Not to mention the German shepherd and the blood hound. Finally I saw vague figures moving over by the stable in the field fenced off from the main yard. No one seemed frantic. So I slipped around the house expecting them to come around the other side any moment, but no one was there and no one showed up in the few seconds I waited.
As I turned to go back to the carport door I always use, the Dane in the house spotted me through the front window and his basso profundo bark rattled the walls. I knew no one had gotten into that house, so my heartbeat slowed a bit. My neighbor saw me herself then, and called from the back door. I had, indeed, gotten there after the excitement was over. Her husband had left before daylight, forgetting to put the two big outside dogs in the horse field before the men hired to do some tree work had arrived. She is 67 and shorter than I by three or four inches, but had tried to do it herself, and was knocked over by the happy, excited dogs and hit her head on the board fence. Another neighbor had gotten to her first, which was just as well. Only a man could have handled all those big, excited animals, and I think the hired men had to help him—that is who I had seen.
I thought, as I made my way back through the woods, as scared as I had been, I had not hesitated at all to go see about my neighbor. Yet how many times have I ignored the cries of distress from my neighbors whose souls are in jeopardy? No, they do not actually cry out. You see that distress in their eyes. You hear their desire for the peace you have in their questions, in their comments about how you handle problems better than they do.
But instead of opening the door to listen, we are too busy with everyday chores to even notice. We have our families to think about. We have our own problems. As one church told Keith a long time ago when he asked for a few dollars to print gospel meeting announcements and pass them out door to door, “They know where we are. They will come if they are interested. No need wasting the Lord’s money like that.”
Are we really listening to their calls for help? Will they be calling someone else because we didn’t pay good enough attention and were slow to react? Are we afraid we will waste “the Lord’s” money? Why do we think it is there? He certainly doesn’t need it.
Pay attention to those around you today. Be sure you are really listening.
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? Even as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! Rom 10:13-15