September 26, 2013
“What good would it be if you saw someone in need and told them ‘God bless you’ and then went away when you were able to help them?”
I was teaching my Bible school students in Tazania about the qualifications for a preacher from 1 Timothy chapter 3. I was emphasizing the point that the preacher must be “given to hospitality.” It is not good for us to share the Gospel and help men’s spiritual needs without also helping their physical needs.
While I was teaching, I noticed the students looking behind me instead of directly at me. I turned to see what the distraction was. Someone had accidentally left the gate open to the complex, and a man had wandered inside and was approaching the open-air pavilion where class was held. I asked one of the students to see what he wanted, since I could not speak Swahili myself. I continued teaching while they talked.
The student returned after a few minutes and said that the man had a problem with his leg (he had been hit by a car), and had just been to the doctor to have his leg looked at. He was able to get free medical treatment, but now he was looking for food. I gave the message to ask the man to wait for a few minutes and then I would talk to him. I was almost done with the session, so I hurriedly up the class and then went to talk to the man.
I greeted the man (through a tranlator) and asked him what his needs were. He repeated the story the student told me. He pulled up his trouser leg and showed me the damage from the accident. It was evident that he was in need. His leg was swollen and had several cuts and scrapes. I sent one of the students to the kitchen to get some food for him. He explained that he had just aten at the hospital, so I put it in a container for him to take with him. Several of the students and I gave him some money, and then we prayed for him. He gave us many thanks and then went on his way.
It is very uncanny how he appeared just as I was teaching about hospitality. I believe it was God testing me to see if I would “practice what I preach.” It was also about the best illustration that could be given to the students on giving.
Written by Matthew James Derocher who writes about biblical subjects and teaches in a Bible college in Tanzania, Africa. You can follow him on Twitter