When Words Fail

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By Lexie Dache, Operations Manager for MBC Tysons Outreach

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

When disaster strikes, no one knows what to say. If the words escape past the lump in your throat, they still seem to lose their meaning. In times of trouble, words become cheap, but simple actions are gold.

In January, the Outreach staff encountered a woman in a crisis. Her young daughter passed away from a brain tumor, and she found herself heartbroken with limited resources and no family around.

There were other people in the church who heard this news, specifically a Multiply group who had expressed interest in serving together. Instead of being at a loss, they uttered the four words that matter most in a time of trouble: “How can we help?”.

They arrived at the Smith Center on the designated Thursday, dressed in black suits with willing hearts. They helped in all kinds of ways, and hours later, when the service and reception had finished and it looked like everything should have been wrapped up, the question was asked, “What else?”.

At that moment I took a step back from the activity to take a mental picture. Tables of school teachers remained circled up, children ran back and forth to the delicious spread of donated food, supporters gathered around the mother and lingered over photos of the beautiful little girl. I watched as my boss delegated and directed this group of adults who had taken off a day of work, devoting their time and energy to honor a woman they did not know and whose troubles they were not willing to keep at a distance.

This is what the body of Christ is about – comforting the afflicted.

Minutes later this Multiply group started packing up plates and dividing into cars. A large food distributor had sent over boxes and boxes of food, and these folks dispersed into the suburbs to deliver the much-needed provisions. They ended up spending the whole day helping as a group, not because they had to, but because that’s what you do when people are hurting and in trouble.

This is what the body of Christ is about—comforting the afflicted, whether that’s quietly sitting with the heartbroken or setting up tablecloths in reception rooms and working behind the scenes. When disaster strikes, actions speak louder than words. When chaos hits, it’s nice to know you’re not alone. I am so proud of this Multiply group for being a silent but beautifully-strong picture of Christ to a woman in need, for modeling Christ’s love in action, for loving with more than words and doing so together.

This kind of love isn’t often found in our world, but this is the kind of love Jesus modeled for us. The wordless service shown on this day caused teachers and educators to say, “Wow, thank you so much for doing this. I’ve never seen something like this before.” You can bet we invited these individuals back to church to experience Jesus with us on a Sunday.  Even if they never come back, we know that they experienced Christ in our building, even though they didn’t attend a formal worship service.

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