Recently my husband decided to smoke a brisket to take back to Indiana with us on a visit we were planning. It was a Sunday morning and he had gotten up around 6:15 am to start the process. He started the fire in the smoker. I had not gotten up yet but was suddenly awakened by the sound of a doorbell. It, of course, frightened me. Who would be coming that early in the morning? I first thought of the police or our neighbors since we’ve recently had break-ins on our vehicles. The doorbell rang a second time. I soon realized my husband was outside with the smoker and could not hear the doorbell ringing. I called for my husband to answer the door.
He came back in a few minutes later laughing. He was telling me it was our neighbor who had taken his dog out for a potty break. He spotted the smoke and the fire and decided he needed to wake us up and let us know about the fire in the backyard. After reassuring our neighbor he had set the fire and everything was okay, we realized how grateful we were that we had neighbors who were concerned enough to come and alert us about the danger. He had come to warn us.
As I thought about this later, I laughed and then was very thankful for the neighbor. Some might have called him nosy, but I was thankful for him. I was also a bit thankful he didn’t call the fire department or the police, but he warned us first instead.
This morning, as I reflected back on this, God gently reminded me that what our neighbor did for us is what we are to be doing for others. He saw a danger and he came and alerted us to the possible danger we were in. When we see our Christian family and friends headed for danger, we are to gently alert them to the possible dangers that lie ahead of them.
This gentleman didn’t panic; he didn’t call in all of our neighbors and make a big scene. He just came, rang our doorbell, and warned us. When others are going down the wrong path, that is what we need to be doing. We shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, we shouldn’t be bringing in all of our friends and telling them what’s going on and we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. What we need to do, is gently pull the person aside and let them know the dangers.
We, who have walked this earth a long time, know some of the hidden dangers or the wrong path that Christians often take. We may have taken that path or have experienced some of those dangers. The best thing we can do to help another one is to share our experience with them. Let them know some of the dangers we experienced going down the path they are choosing to take. Sharing the knowledge we have to help them on this journey is one way Christ has called us to service.
How many times has a parent, grandparent, relative or friend pulled us aside and said to us, “Look I’ve been on that road. I’ve done those things and here is what happened. Trust me you don’t want to go down that path or do those things.” I am forever grateful for those times someone has come and warned me not to go there. Did I listen to them all the time? Of course not, but I was grateful for the warning. I was grateful that someone cared enough to come and warn me.
We may go to someone with a warning. They may listen or they may turn away, but we are to love one another enough to go and warn them. Galatians 6:1-2 reminds us, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
We are called to restore him or her spiritually while at the same time not be tempted to join them in their sin. We do that by gently warning them of the dangers. Once we have warned them it’s up to them to decide how to proceed.
This neighbor could have ignored the signs of danger. If it had been a real fire, we would have perished in the fire. But, because of his love and concern, he warned us. We never want to be responsible for seeing danger and not warning someone. I am sure he would have felt guilty had something happened to us.
For years, while in Indiana, I had a beautician that did not attend church. I often prayed for her but did very little to talk with her. I worried that she might be lost just because I didn’t say anything to her. Little by little I let my worries slip by and I would say things about my faith and church.
After moving to Texas I found out later she began to attend the church I had just moved from. She said it was because of my faith and the faith of others that she knew she needed to get into a church. She not only started attending she taught a child’s Sunday school class. She loved kids and kids were her passion. Because of her faith and her passion, she decided to teach these young ones. It wasn’t too long after becoming a major part of this church that she suddenly died. This was something no one saw coming. I was so glad that I stepped up and shared my faith with her. I would like to think I had a little bit in helping her save her life and change directions.
We may never know if what we say will help but I what I do know is it’s best to warn others in a discreet and pleasant way. It just might be a life that is saved because you showed concern and cared enough.
Thanksgiving is coming and I thank God that this neighbor took the time to stop what he was doing and warn us of impending danger. Even though it was not what he thought it was at least we know somebody is watching out for us. That’s the way it is with God. He is always watching out for us. He will send us somebody to warn us just at the right time to keep us from falling away.
Dear God: Thank you to our neighbor. Thank you for sending us someone to warn us about the dangers around the corner or down the street. Help us to be wise, understanding and appreciative when others come to us and warn us of the danger that lies ahead. Let us listen with open minds knowing too many times they have been down the road before us and they know the dangers. Thank you for all who show concern, love us and for those who encourage us daily. Amen