Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

January 16, 2013

Tough times, and getting tougher

Corsicana — This past Sunday, my pastor at Lonestar Cowboy Church, Charky Marquis, opened his message by telling us that many people are ill and battling flu, viruses, etc. in our community — and that many people out there are desperately in need of work. We then had a special time of prayer for those specific things.

That is one thing I love about my church and our pastor — that he has a heart for the hurting, compassion and empathy for the things that affect a congregation.  

I was sidelined Monday and Tuesday by my own health issues, but when I returned to work Wednesday, I learned of three friends in two days who lost their jobs with no warning. All due to reduction in workforce. These people are like me — “seasoned,” (as I prefer to think of it), dependable, smart, but have been hit by one crisis after another.

Every day I read several devotional books, but one is by Joyce Meyers and is called “The Confidant Woman.” A familiar theme in the devotions is that God made each of us different on purpose. Each of us has unique and particular gifts specific just to us — and it’s up to us to ascertain what they are, and hone those gifts — rather than wringing our hands and wishing we had Suzy Q’s particular gift instead.

My friend, the late Major Chuck Anderson of The Salvation Army, had the same heart for the hurting as Charky. Chuck had known suffering in his life, and from it, he was capable of huge empathy (one of his gifts). In my humble opinion, one of the best things Chuck did during his time in Corsicana was gather all the social service agencies, ministers, and others involved with helping people together. Over sandwiches at The Salvation Army, Chuck told us all that times were about to get bad with the economy. I’m not sure even Chuck could have predicted the current abysmal state of affairs.

He urged us to be proactive and GET READY.

I know I’ve written this before, but it bears repeating, so stay with me, please. First Baptist Church (the late David Edwards, to be precise) stood up and said they were feeding homeless and needy people every Monday at noon. They offered their facility to any other congregation that wanted to commit to another day of the week. To the best of my recall, this took place in early 2009 and First Baptist has kept to its commitment ever since.

However, to my knowledge, nobody has joined them in the commitment to provide hot meals for the hungry.

Forgive me if The Salvation Army or a congregation I don’t know about is doing this.

A little birdie told me that for the first time, the United Way is having to hold a fundraising event, because times are so tough the donations are way down. Not surprising.

I dare say that all kinds of creative finagling and fundraising and budgeting is being done by every social service agency in our fair county. I’m sure this is being done in homes all over our county, too. I know one widow lady who holds down three jobs just to make ends meet.

Personally, I am praying hard — not just for all these people who are ill, without work, struggling with health insurance needs, etc. — but I am also praying hard for God to reveal to me just what He wants me personally to do to help. I don’t have money, I’m not a good cook, but there must be some way, some gift He gave me that would minister in some way to someone hurting.

And I urge every congregation out there — look around. See the hurting in your community. God instructed the church to minister and be the hands and feet of Jesus, not just to your own flock, but to the hurting all around. Pray about what your specific gifts, talents, ministry could be — then act on it.

                         —————

Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her columns appear on Saturday. She may be reached by email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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