It is not uncommon to receive a call from a church wanting to know how to help someone. Many times the request for help is not something the church can do in the confines of their sanctuary or offices and we are called on for advice or collaboration when dealing with poverty in our community. Just as there is a network of need here in Maury County, there is a network of support and love it when we care called to help.
I don’t normally answer the phone, volunteers and staff are the first to answer… whenever possible, I am the last resort. One day the phones were ringing off the hook and I was forced to pick it up. A church located close to the interstate found themselves with a homeless couple in need and unsure how to help them. The couple was heading towards Arkansas for the prospects of a new job, new life and new beginnings. They made it as far as they could when car troubles, illness and soon empty wallets hindered their travels. On fumes, they left the interstate and made their way to the first church they could find with no money to continue and the desperate need for new tires. The pastor was able to assist them with their gas tank, but tires… that was not his forte.
While we have an odd selection of items to give to our families, tires is not something we have in our stock. But when we get the call from one of our most supportive churches asking to help, we do.
The couple made their way to our center and we began calling around to see what we could do to help them with tires. We have a wonderful agency in town that assists with transportation so we started there. Even if this agency couldn’t help the couple, surely they would know who could. We left a message pleading for assistance and fed the couple while we waited.
To our surprise, the director of the agency showed up at our door after hearing our voicemail message. We proceeded to tell him the situation; what we knew of the couple and asking him to look at the tires. All the while, hoping he would have some advice but not expecting he would buy the tires, that was a tall order for any agency.
With a quiver in his voice, this wonderful, humble man said. ” I will buy them tires… I am not even going to look at them, and I will tell you why.”
We waited in shock, “You don’t even want to look at the tires first? I asked?
His voice cracked as he explained, “This morning I woke up and God told me to come to town. I didn’t have anyone to transport; all our pick ups were covered by volunteers but I felt God was calling me to come to Columbia, there was something I was supposed to do for Him. So I did. I came to town and waited in the parking lot of a church down the road from here. I just sat waiting, praying and then I got your call.”
It was about this time the tears welled in his eyes. “This is what I am supposed to do today.” He continued. ” I am supposed to come here, help this couple. It is what God has called me to do, and I will. If they need tires, that is what I am supposed to do for them.”
We were all dumbfounded. What do you say to that? How can you comprehend what just happened? God called this man to Columbia to fill a need only he could fill. This couple needed help we couldn’t provide and didn’t really think anyone could. And just like that, because of the faith of a wonderful man… it was done.
The rest of the day was very somber. We couldn’t shake the feeling we had been part of something so much bigger than a set of tires. God had a plan for the day and was a wonderful feeling that we were a small part of it. The couple headed off to get tires and we tried to continue with our day as normal as possible.
But over and over I kept asking myself, could I do it? Could I hear the call from God like that? Could I trust in Him to drive to a parking lot and wait his instructions? Have I ever heard a call like this? Maybe I did and didn’t realize it? Did I miss it? Maybe life is too busy and I am not hearing Him? Is my faith not is strong as others? How do I hear you God?
Maybe my call was to answer the phone that morning, maybe my call was knowing about this agency, or maybe my call is coming later. I don’t know, I don’t have an answer but I think about this day often. I am so glad to be a part of this special day the Lord hath made.
The couple continued on their way with gas in their tank from the church, food in their bellies from us and tires on their car from this wonderful ministry. We don’t know if they made it or not and we probably wont ever hear from them again but I have to believe God was with them the whole way. How could He not be after all that?
Everyday I think about those tires and what they meant that day… not just to the homeless couple, but to us, to our faith, to our calling.
This is faith… This is Maury… This is community… This is what we do.