2022 Discipleship Series: Please God by Loving Others
a modern-day parable
“These old knees ache. Must gonna snow.”
Millie Holden just celebrated her seventy-fifth birthday. She was the only one at her party to eat the cake she bought herself. She attends the senior center on the corner of Crane and 14th, but it was closed on her special day. Millie refused to wait.
“Or maybe it’s cuz I finished that slab of cake. Mama always said you clean your plate, watch the sky cuz somethin’ comin.”
Millie is proud of herself that she is able to live alone, shop for herself, and use the bus or subway to get to appointments. Her husband Drew died four years ago. Millie often wondered why she married a white Irish man. It cost her cousins and sisters, uncles and aunts. Her parents died in a car accident when she was ten. Millie grew up wanting a life of her own, where she would be cared for. She knew the day she stood before the justice of the peace in her second-hand gown, Drew would be all she ever had. They never had children. Drew was a hard man who put his lager first. He never considered taking Millie to see about fertility help.
“Well, I best be getting to Tom’s diner. I’ll have me a big country breakfast, that’ll keep me ‘til evenin’.”
Wrapping her scarf around three times, Millie slipped into her Sketcher walking shoes.
“No ice yet, these be fine to get me there and back.”
Tom’s diner was two blocks south of her apartment building. She ate there at least three times a week. The waitress Denae made sure she was available to take care of Millie whenever she came in.
“Oh … jingle and jam, dropped my keys.”
Millie stood on the second step, closest to the building. Her keys were on the sidewalk. Looking at the keys, instead of the step, she tumbled. She knew she was lucky she didn’t land face-first. Millie laid on her side with zero strength to get up.
“No use yellin’ for help. Nobody is up yet. Damn hoodlums sleepin’ their beer off.”
A car sped down the street, right past her.
“Oh, come on body, move … OUCH!”
When shifting her legs, Millie felt a sharpness in her ankle. As with the precision of an Exacto knife, the pain commanded Millie to stay still.
“Oh who dat? I hear someone comin’ up the street.”
A middle-aged man, coffee in hand, relished his early morning walks with the Lord. It is what he needed to get going each day. He concentrated on “keeping his eyes fixed” as he gazed at the sky.
“Hey you, don’t you see me?”
Millie could not see the man until he passed her. He was on the opposite side of the wide street and self-absorbed. The man didn’t look her way. Truly, this reminded Millie of her marriage. No matter how desperate Millie felt to have a child, Drew just filled his stein and looked away.
A garbage truck clamored close by, cans crashing.
“Is it garbage day? Don’t believe I put mine out. Oh well, I gots bigger fish to fry right now.”
“Uh, miss, ma’am, may I help you get up?”
Millie turned her head slightly to see this “help”, not in the form she would have guessed. A young man with light brown skin wore a skull cap with a cross. His fluorescent coat, issued by the company he worked for, was soiled, dripped with leftovers from people who neglected to use their garbage disposals.
“Are you able to hear me, miss?”
The truck moved ahead, but he stayed put with a hand outstretched toward Millie’s.
“Wells, I’m not so sure I can gets up, young man. Why, you’re gonna lose you job. You best hurry, I be fine.”
With that, the man bent down on one knee and laid a hand on Millie’s head.
“Oh Lord on High, please as we sit before You, please Lord be this wonderful woman’s strength and healing. Bless her abundantly in Your precious name Jesus. Amen.”
A tear dropped from Millie’s aging eye to the concrete.
“Now I am going to help you sit up, not stand up, OK?”
“Anything you say. Pretty sure you an angel who dropped outta that heaven I stopped believin’ in.”
The cold air found the spaces in Millie’s teeth as she smiled wide. After gently assisting her to a seated position, the man called an ambulance. By this time, the garbage truck was no longer visible, making its way into city traffic to continue its duties.
“Any other time I would say no way, not today … don’t need that ambiance. But I got no car, and I ain’t walkin’ to the subway station.”
“May I ask your name, ma’am?”
“Miss Millie. Just me, no kids, husband and family all gone.”
“Well, it is a true pleasure to meet you. People call me Sam. I trust Our Father in heaven to take care of you. I am so thankful He gives us medical people to do His work here on earth.”
“And don’t mind if I say, but this father you speak of also gives us garbage collectors like youself.”
Sam laughed. His heart warmed. In the secret place within his soul, he asked the Lord if he should say more about Jesus. He sensed Millie’s brokenness, loneliness, and pride of self-sufficiency. The Lord did not lead. Sam chose to say nothing else about His Son. In humble confidence he believed he did what pleased the Lord.
When we read the story of loving our neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, whom do you connect with? As you meditate on this story, ask the Lord to forgive you for any past times when you could have offered help to someone in need, and you didn’t. Seek forgiveness if you hold fear or judgement on any certain groups of people. Pray to see people through the illuminating eyes of God. If you are honest with God and seek to please Him, He will use you in ways you never imagined to be His loving hands and feet in this broken world.
Julie Dibble is a servant of her Lord Jesus Christ. Together with her husband Jason, they have two sons, Braedon 17 and Jackson 15, and one rescued pup named Rocko. Julie preaches, writes, hikes, and prays for God to use her daily in this broken world. Currently, she is on staff at Newberrytown Church of God as Director of Outreach and Evangelism.
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