Evangelist David Ring has a powerful testimony. Despite cerebral palsy and a serious speech impediment, he has been a traveling preacher for decades and has spoken at thousands of churches. I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Ring, and well into his talk, he explained that he uses a wet washcloth to moisten his mouth since he cannot drink a glass of water on stage without assistance. He stated his shakiness might result in him dropping the cup, but he went on to say that if someone would help him, he could have a drink. He pointed to the glass of water sitting on the side of the stage, and again repeated something to the effect of, “I’m thirsty. I can’t drink that water on my own. But if someone will help me, I can get a drink.” Again and again he made this statement as the audience started to question what was going on, shifting a bit uncomfortably and whispering to one another. I finally looked at my husband and mother-in-law and said, “He wants someone to help him.” They agreed, so I walked down the aisle.
When I got to the front, Mr. Ring jokingly told me it took me long enough. Or perhaps he wasn’t joking. After all, he asked for help 9 times before I came. Never the less, I went on stage, and helped him get a long drink of water. As I held the glass in my hands, I had tears in my eyes, ashamed that I had waited so long to help with such a simple task. I could give many excuses for why it took me so long to get out of my seat – I assumed someone sitting closer would go, perhaps even the pastor of the church. (Mr. Ring later said he told the Pastor notto get up. My apologies to the Pastor.) Mr. Ring also said he knew someone would come…eventually…and that the longer we waited, the more powerful his point became. After he drank some water and I sat down, he asked some others in the sanctuary why they didn’t come up. The reality, according to Mr. Ring, is that we blew it. His point got much more serious: If we won’t take the time, take the effort, take the risk, or have the love to help someone with a glass of water, will we ever have the time, effort, risk or love to share about Jesus? I had blown that one right before walking in the church that evening.
Prior to the service, my family and I had gone out to eat dinner. Our server clearly needed the love of the Lord. Yet, I didn’t share. Our server was begging for the living water, but my own discomfort kept me from providing it. I didn’t want to take the effort or the risk. I didn’t have the time or the love. So, I stood in front of Mr. Ring holding a glass of water, thinking of that server. This was the other reason I had tears in my eyes. How I wished I had taken the time. Taken the effort. Taken the risk. Had the love. The question for me – and for you – becomes this: Will we help people get a drink? Some folks are asking over and over, desperate and begging. Instead of ignoring them, we need to boldly step out on faith and offer Jesus Christ. I don’t want to blow it again.