I was reminded of an old joke the other day. You’ve probably heard it, but bear with me—there is a point.
A hurricane hit Louisiana and a man crawled up onto his roof as the floodwaters rose. A neighbor came by in his boat filled with other neighbors.
“Boudreaux!” he called, “There’s room in here for one more! I can even bring the boat in close enough so you can just step off the roof, into the boat without getting wet!”
“Thanks, but I have faith that God will provide!” The neighbor, not wanting to offend either Boudreaux or God waved, “As you wish. Hope to see you soon!” opened up the throttle a bit and sailed away.
About an hour later, another boat operated by the volunteer “Cajun Navy” came alongside the house.
“C’mon down!” one of them called, “We have more bad weather headed this way. You need to leave, now!”
“Thanks, but I’m good,” Boudreaux replied. “God will provide what I need!” The boat turned, and with a wave its pilot headed north to look for others who needed help.
A couple of hours later, a National Guard helicopter hovered over him and lowered a harness to haul him up. Boudreaux waved them off. Even though they couldn’t hear him over the roar of the helicopter, once again Boudreaux proclaimed his faith.
The weather got worse. The water crested over the top of the roof, which didn’t matter because Boudreaux had already been blown off the roof into the raging waters and he drowned. He approached the pearly gates of Heaven with a dour look on his face.
“I was sure that you would rescue me!” he said to God.
“I sent two boats and a helicopter,” God replied. “What more did you expect?”
God does much of his work through other people. Moses was about 85 years old with a speech impediment, happily herding goats when God sent him to stand up to the Pharaoh, the most powerful leader in Africa and Asia, and lead the Jews out of Egypt. God showed the way, but Moses did the actual leading.
When the multitudes following Jesus were hungry, Jesus asked the disciples to find what food was available. After He blessed the loaves and fishes, it was the disciples who distributed food among the followers. The crowd was probably more impressed with those distributing the food than Jesus’ blessing it.
St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians pointed out that different people have different gifts, but those gifts are to benefit others. Some speak in tongues while others can interpret such speech. Some drive boats or fly helicopters to evacuate people in need. Some study diseases to try to figure out how to fight them. Others treat people with diseases or instruct them in ways to avoid or minimize the effects of disease.
I’ve challenged myself, and with your permission, I’d like to challenge you. In today’s crazy world, what is your gift? Are you using it to help others?