Pausing to Care

Everybody is busy! It doesn’t matter how young or old you are; what trade, occupation or profession in which you work; whatever gender, race, or religion you happen to be. Everybody is busy! Now for those of you who may want to disagree and who think you know somebody who is not busy at all, allow me to point out that while you may not think they are busy, they think they are busy. There are people who are busy trying to look busy, and there are people who are busy trying not to be busy. In the midst of it all, though, there are busy folks.

Everywhere you look, folks are busy. The first grader on his or her way to the first day in class is pushed by all of the preparation, traffic, and the other people involved in getting there in an attempt to beat the bell. The businessman, the banker, the school teacher, the attorney, the air conditioner repairman, the plumber, the store owner, the dentist, the nurse, the retiree, and everybody else have places to go, things to do, people to see, and are usually in a hurry to get there.

That is why I was so surprised on a pre-dawn morning in the summer as I was out finishing my walk. Not far from me, a car came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road. The person turned on the emergency flashers, got out of his car, and began to run. The man ran about 50 yards, and I wondered what in the world was happening. I recognized him as a doctor who lived in our area, and wondered to what kind of emergency he was responding. Turns out he was rushing back down the road to pick up a turtle. He carried the turtle across the road and gently put him in a flower bed, then rushed back to his car and away he went.

I wondered how busy his day was going to be. How many patients were waiting on him, and how many needs in people’s lives would be clamoring for attention? Yet in the rush of the pre-dawn light, he paused 30-60 seconds to help an innocent little turtle get out of the way of the traffic that would soon be on the road. I have often been fascinated not so much by what people do but what they do on the way to what they are going to do.

Do you recall that day when Jesus got word from the house of Jarius that his daughter was sick and apparently near death (Mark 5)? Jarius wanted Jesus to come because he believed Jesus could make a difference. As Jesus made His way toward the man’s home, the crowds grew. No doubt, the crowd was wondering what spectacular thing Jesus was going to do. As Jesus and His disciples pressed on trying to get to the place where He was going to meet a need, something strange happened. He was encircled by people. You can imagine the crowd pushing, pulling, wanting to get a look at Jesus and wanting to be close if something unusual actually happened.

In that crowd was a desperate woman. For 12 years, she had suffered with an ailment and no one could help her. She had spent all of her money looking for a remedy and none was found. She thought if she could just touch Jesus, He could help. Moving along with the crowd and reaching out as far as she could, she touched the hem of His garment and was instantly healed. Scripture says that instantly, the power and strength of God flowed from Jesus into her life. Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?”  The disciples recognized that everybody was touching Him and pointed out the obvious. Jesus said again, “Someone touched me.” The woman sheepishly stepped forward and admitted, “I did.”

Jesus was not angry with her. He just wanted to bless her. He paused to care. How many times a day, in our busy comings and goings as we are trying to get somewhere and do something really urgent and important, do we miss pausing to care for someone we may not even know? Take a moment to think about your caring pauses.

Stop and help someone that no one else sees. I could not see the turtle in the road from where I was and no one could see the dilemma in the woman’s life from where they were, but someone who did see paused to help. Too many times, we may see what needs to be done and even bother to think and maybe even ask, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about that?” Well, maybe somebody should and maybe that somebody is your body. If you see it, help!

Another thought I would pass along, and maybe you can pass along, is that you can stop and help someone who cannot help you in return. The turtle could not respond and neither could the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. There are folks around you that you can help and bless who cannot do anything for you. That’s fine, but you can do something for them. If the truth be known, the more help we give like that, the closer we may be to the cross of Jesus.

One final thought about pausing to care is to pause and help someone in danger. I know most of us have an aversion to interfering in someone’s life, sticking our noses somewhere our noses should not be, or intervening in some kind of crisis. I understand that, but when you see a turtle in danger of being crushed and you don’t want to pause 30 seconds, multiply that 10,000 times over and consider pausing to care for a precious young person whose life is getting all twisted up and is about to run into the ditch or be run over by our culture. How much more valuable are they than any little creature crossing the road? Maybe you can pause to help someone facing the end of life’s journey and there is no one else there to care.

The Psalmist says God promised He will walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), but there are those who need you, or only a word from you, or just a moment of care from you. God help each one of us to pause long enough at least once a day to care and make a difference.

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Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer