Ongoing Guilt
Off the Wall, Jan 9
, 2014

It was a sunny day in Monica, Montana. The leaves were turning on the trees and citizens were out walking along city sidewalks, shopping at their regular stores or driving about as is the case with Saturday leisure.

Everyone had something planned for that day, even the people who did nothing. They would carry on their tradition of lounging on city sidewalks, leaning against buildings or just congregating with friends.

Up the main street from the city bank stood the Presbyterian Church. What would take place in that building during the latter part of the afternoon would prove to show residents that their little town was made up of sympathetic, special individuals who cared for relatives of a stricken young lady.

It so happened that two teams were playing polo one Tuesday afternoon when Millie Alborne’s horse stumbled and she was thrown to the ground paralyzing her from the waist down. This caused much hardship to the family as they had no medical insurance to help pay for her care.

By having a spaghetti dinner benefit for her, it was hoped that the whole community would show up not only supporting the cause, but participating in buying tickets for the Chinese auction gift baskets that were donated by friends of the family and businesses of this little town, and residents dropping funds in a jar to help with the costs.

Millie was a very popular girl. She was very community-minded, very altruistic, attended to the homeless, and attained great achievements in school, including sports.

So, after the accident happened, it became obvious that friends of the family had to do something to help – and they did. It was plain to see that she was loved by all as the benefit became an overwhelming success.

In the three hours the dinner took place, the room at the church had few seats available in the spacious quarters. Millie’s family was present and was a bit emotional when they saw how many baskets were donated on behalf of their daughter. And to top it off, person after person kept showing up to help which spoke volumes to every one there.

People would stream in one door, in particular, and head toward the table selling tickets for the dinner. There they would announce whether they were eating in or taking out their meals. Another friend of the family would be making tabulations as to how many adult versus children meals would be sold. All in all, everything was well organized.

Half way through the dinner, a middle-aged church member approached the table and asked, “There is a homeless fellow who would like a dinner. What should we do? There was momentary silence and then the fellow making tabulations paid for his dinner.

Then it struck him hours after it was over. Could that have been Jesus Christ at the door? After all, we don’t know how or when he’s coming. For days the fellow had ongoing guilt. The Bible says we should care for the poor, invite them in and have them sit at the front and not at the back of the table. The more this gentleman thought about it, the more he was convinced.

It has to be stipulated, I do not believe in coincidence. Around the same time of the get-together a gospel reading, three days after the benefit convinced me that suspicions were correct. Reading from Luke 12:35-37 – “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”

Even though this scripture refers to the end times in reference to the return of Jesus, Luke emphasis for his readers the importance of being faithful to the instructions of Jesus.

We are also taught to see the spirit of Christ in all our brothers and sisters.

Keeping all that in mind, wouldn’t it behoove just one of the many to sit the poor person down, treat him like royalty, forgetting the party atmosphere?

Asking the Lord’s forgiveness may be the only solution the so-called guilty have to free themselves of these matters. Attending confession will help. Praying for family members such as those of Millie is what we’re called to do.

When Jesus knocks on our doors, shouldn’t we be ready to let Him in? He will strengthen us if we keep alert.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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