Somebody’s made a payment on my credit card.
Risking sounding like Goldilocks, that was my conclusion after going over my monthly credit card statement.
There it was: the amount of the generous payment, even the check number.
Perhaps I had made a payment and had forgotten to record it. This wouldn't have been the first time. But now the porridge thickened; this check number wasn’t the same as any I had written.
This unexpected windfall seemed too good to be true. And, of course, it was.
A closer look at the statement revealed the payment on the check had been stopped, the amount added back to my account, and I had been charged ten dollars for stopping payment on a check I had neither sent nor stopped.
Evidently someone had sent a payment on his or her account that was mistakenly applied to mine. When credit wasn't received, payment was stopped on the check. So the mystery was almost solved. Don’t forget I was still out ten dollars.
A call to the 800 number on the statement brought a customer service representative to the phone. She was helpful, apologetic and best of all quick to deduct the $10 stop payment charge from my account.
When I expressed thanks to the courteous woman I added a question to let her know I not only appreciated her help with my problem but that I was concerned about any trouble she might be facing. That was when I learned about the grief she was experiencing over the recent loss of two brothers.
Now I knew this mix-up on my account had happened so I could share the grief of a troubled woman in a distant state. I then sent my book “Staying Positive in a Negative World” to her because it was written to bring faith to discouraged people.
Sorrow frequently lurks behind smiles. Troubled people are all around us and we seldom sense their pain. Many feel like the prophet, Jeremiah, who when everything was going wrong cried out “Is it nothing to you who pass by?”
Caring for hurting people demonstrates our faith is real. God cares for us and knowing this moves us to care for others. Follow the journey of the Bible through the centuries and you will find that you are on a world mission of compassion.
But there is another dimension to ministering to hurting ones that was revealed by Jesus when He said, “I was hungry and you gave me food: I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35-39).
His confused hearers asked when they had done these things and He answered that in ministering to others they had ministered to Him.
Reaching out to troubled people has far reaching implications: every touch of compassion touches our Lord.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster, and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org