Me and Others
I spent last week with the TBA Disaster Relief Team ministering in Victoria, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey hit and spent a while wreaking havoc. The group we were part of provided food, necessities, chainsaw help, roof tarping, and removal of wet drywall, floors, and ceilings. So far, we have addressed needs in almost 500 damaged homes in Victoria. We also prayed with thousands of people, and have seen over sixty people come to faith in Christ!
The week felt several weeks long with no routine other than addressing whatever needed to be done. I had no idea of what was going on in the world outside of our work. Most days we toiled from 4:20 AM until almost 10 PM.
One of my tasks was working on an assessment team. We went to the homes where people had requested help to assess the damage. We produced a triage report assigning the appropriate teams and equipment to address their needs.
Trees had been uprooted and fallen onto homes. Roofs had been compromised by the intense winds. Homes had been blown off their foundation piers. Mold was growing in water-damaged ceilings, walls, and floors. Large branches that had broken from trees still hung precariously above homes and property. Floodwaters had finally receded and power for the most part was restored. Few had the insurance to cover any of the loss. People were in shock.
The purpose of Disaster Relief Teams is to provide immediate relief during these times of great need. These people certainly were in great need. Yet an amazing response from almost every victim was, “I know many are in worse shape than I. Help them first.” Our response was, “That may be so, but right now we are here for you.” Their appreciation was genuine.
In the midst of all the damage, everyone’s concern was for the other person. Responders were doing whatever they could to help. They came from all over the state and nation. The victims were also concerned, not so much for their needs, but for the needs of others in their community. One man who had experienced a large tree crashing onto his roof was going to need to remove and replace most of the ceilings, walls, and floors of his home. He had major roof damage. He asked how he could volunteer to help us in relief efforts.
I returned home Saturday evening tired and numb. I discovered that my television provider had dropped the station that shows Texas Rangers Baseball from my plan. My wife knows how much I enjoy Rangers baseball. She suggested I call the provider to voice my disapproval and to get some action. But after this past week my sports viewing just doesn’t seem that important.
Where are you in your world right now? Are you focusing on “me”? Yes, it is important to look out for your and yours and not to allow someone to take advantage of you. But how do you see and respond to the “others” around you? We may not be living in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with its destruction and pain, but we are living in communities where families are in turmoil, marriages are dissolving, lives are suffering in pain, and where people don’t have the gift of salvation because we have not shared it.
- Lord, forgive my self-centeredness.
- Lord, help me to see the real need around me.
- Lord, use me as an instrument in your hand to relieve misery and to give life.
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