An encouragement to serve others

  • Peter Sholl
  • 16 May 2016

Man in wheelchair

Living in Mexico has opened my eyes to all sorts of things, including different expressions of “that’s just the way we get on and serve each other”. Here’s a good example.

For the past three months, I’ve been the guest teacher at a men’s Bible study group that meets for a couple of hours after work on Friday nights (often followed by a late-night barbecue!) Most of the members are (ahem) middle or post-middle aged, and as a result, we often hear news about their or a friend’s latest operation, diagnosis or even death. The reality of our lives, living in a fallen world while we await the new creation, is very apparent in this group of saints.

As we talk together, we share the latest news and pray for our brothers and sisters. Doing this is meaningful and God-honouring, as well as a great demonstration of the way these men depend on God in all aspects of their lives.

They also use this time as an opportunity to encourage sick friends or family members: in the context of the conversation, one of the brothers regularly gets out his phone, finds the number of the person we have prayed for, and gives them a call—there and then! Whether the person is in their home or in hospital (we have once or twice heard machines pinging in the background), they get a ‘virtual’ Friday night visit from the men’s Bible study group.

The phone gets put on speaker, it is placed in the middle of the table, and we all say hello. Someone from the group reads a passage from the Bible and says a few encouraging words, and then we pray with the person and/or their family. Five minutes, nothing more. Nothing fancy; just a group of men taking the opportunity to share a word of consolation and encouragement with a friend who is suffering.

How often do we think, “I really should give that person a call,” but then get distracted or sidetracked, or we don’t feel like we have quite the right words to say? The Friday night men have encouraged me to just get on and do it.