Respond first. Think later. This is how we will change the world.

Last week we remembered the horrors of 9/11. This is an anniversary that we should never forget, that we wish had never happened.

What a different world we live in.

Think of all the young people who have never lived in a world that isn’t reminded of terror every single day. They have never met grandma at the doors of the airport gate as she left her airplane. They have never lived in a world where simple backpacks can’t be taken into a large gathering.  They have never lived in a world with simple freedom.

The attack changed everything.

But it also helped us remember of what’s most important.

The world of 9/11 spawned a nation defined by 9/12. We figured out who were as people. We recovered and prospered. And despite the challenges we face together, we are still an amazing place to live. And the day also revived the spirit of heroism, of everyday response to those in need.

Enduring Images

One of the most vivid memories of that day was the image of men and women, covered in equal parts soot and tears and fear, running away from the horror of the twin towers.

Just as unforgettable were the men and women in uniform, running the opposite way, straight into the danger. We found ways to honor those first-responders and continue to hold them in high esteem.
Embed from Getty Images

Our job is to rush in

As Christians, our job is be the first responder, the person who goes straight into the situation that everyone else is leaving. We are the people who are called to reach out to stop the bleeding, to care for the wounds, to put salve on a situation.

Chad Bruegman of Red Rocks Church preached this sermon last year on Sept. 11. He praised the First Responders in the audience, but he then went on to encourage all of us to be first responders  to the hurting in the world. “Our medicine is mercy. The greatest tool in our bag is compassion.”

I went to Houston last week not to be a hero. I didn’t go to find glory. But I’m starting to see the benefit in rushing in to help where there are many rushing out to be helped. I’m seeing the benefit of Just Saying Yes to God by diving into situations.

My friend Chris who lives in the Houston area was set himself. His family was secure. But he made sure his Land Cruiser was outfitted for deep water driving, in case he needed to rescue a neighbor.

Chris' truck was ready to roll!
Chris’ truck was ready to roll!

He had ropes and hooks and canoes ready to go. And a lot of other Texans deployed big trucks and boats in equally selfless matters to seek out the needy.  Chris’ wife Melissa made sure they had food and bedding ready at the house for guests. They were ready to “jump into the water” to help. Because that we do.

Use what you have

I certainly have very few skills beyond my words. But I found a way to put those to work, to help encourage those who are making a difference on the ground. I found those who are hurting and was able to encourage, to help fund, to give a pick-you-up just when they ready to fall.

Remember the 7 year olds last week that I wrote about? They raised  $1000 for hurricane victims selling lemonade.

My friend Dan King was an IT manager for a big telecommunications company. He fixed those kind of problems only as  those guys can. And he was good.

But his life changed trajectory when he Just Said Yes. He found himself in Haiti after their devastating earthquake in 2010.  He wrote about it, calling himself The Unlikely Missionary. He went from “Pew-Warmer to Poverty Fighter.”

“Through that first trip, and other mission trips, God just really kept building heart for caring for the orphaned and fatherless.”

He and his wife adopted a child. And then another. And then another. They are now a family of five.

Dan-King-Family-

Maybe adoption isn’t for you. That’s fine.  Nor do have to go to flood zones or war zones. You really don’t have to save the whole world. But it is imperative to do something.

There are problems all around us. Pick one. Send your thoughts. Send your prayers. But it’s time to do.

I’m interested to hear about the nudges you are feeling in your heart. Feel free to share below

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