Ain’t Nobody Help Nobody in This City

James 2:14-18

Stuart Brisco tells the story of the extraordinary kindness of a stranger toward him and his wife when he first      moved to America from Great Britain:  “I was speaking in Chicago at one of the big hotels in the Loop. Jill and I had never driven to Chicago before. It was pouring rain. I knew my gas was getting a little low, but I knew there would be lots of filling stations in Chicago. I was wrong. I ran out of gas in a thunderstorm—in the fast lane—in rush hour.

We were totally new to this country, and I had no idea what to do. I got out, and immediately my suit was drenched. To their credit, the people of Chicago did not ignore me. Everyone wound down their window and told me exactly what they thought about me, even though they didn’t know who I was. A beat-up old car came along, and the window went down. I didn’t bother listening anymore, so I had no idea what the man said. I stood there quite a long time hoping something would happen. Nothing happened except for the verbal abuse. Then, to my amazement, I saw this same beat-up old car coming around again. Without a word the driver pulled in behind me, jumped out, lifted the trunk, and got out a gallon can of gas. He went to my gas tank, poured it in, and still didn’t say a word. He put the cap back on, and turned to walk away. I said, “Hold it! What’s going on?”

“No speak English! No speak English,” was his answer.

I found he did speak a little English, and I discovered what had happened. He had seen my plight and gone off the freeway to a filling station, where he bought a gallon of gas. He got back on the freeway going the other way, got off, got on again, and worked his way around to us. He didn’t even want me to pay for the gas. I discovered he had just arrived from Puerto Rico. He had been in Chicago a week, and this is what he said: “Ain’t nobody helps nobody in this city.” (Stuart Briscoe from His Sermon “What about Shaky Marriages?”)

As Christians we would never shower a person in need with expletives!  James says we are more likely to shower them in “Christian Speak.”   We say to someone without clothes and daily food:  “Go, I wish you well: keep warm and well fed.”   Our words might be more pleasant on the ear, but the net result of both approaches is nothing.   James says faith without works is nothing.  “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

Want to demonstrate your faith to an unbelieving world?   Then be prepared to help a few stranded motorists on the highway of life.   As Matthew Henry once said:  “Wherever the Providence of God casts us, we should desire and endeavor to be useful; and, when we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can.”

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