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investing yourself in community

The following is from LifePoint’s weekly newsletter.

It has been almost ten years since my mother died. Tonya and I were living here in San Diego, not far from where LifePoint meets. In the course of about three weeks, I experienced the true meaning of Christian community.

When mom was put on life-support, our friends at church purchased an emergency airline ticket for me to travel home. When she died two weeks later, they did the same – this time also paying for Tonya to travel with me.

Mom was hospitalized in Peoria, IL, across the river from my hometown. During the time we waited in ICU, we had a steady stream of visitors come sit with us. Almost every single one of them was a friend from church. Many of them stayed for hours while we took turns spending time with mom.

One episode remains vivid. It was Thanksgiving Day and we were gathered at the hospital. It was raining cats and dogs. That afternoon we were joined by a church leader who had recently been transferred to New Orleans. He had just flown back into Peoria to be with his family. Before heading home, he came to the hospital. I’ll never forget that simple yet generous gesture.
Though my personal ministry style was much different than the church I grew up in, I was never more proud to be from that church.

Four years later, the scene replayed itself when my father died of cancer. It was shortly after his funeral that I had a conversation with one of my brothers. He was struck by the level of support our church had shown us and wondered what it would be like when he died.

In the kindest way I could, I said, “Did any of your drinking buddies come sit at the hospital with you? If you don’t build these relationships now, they won’t be there when you need them.”

Are you investing in the kinds of relationships that will be there when you need them?