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 Vol. 3, No. 12 

Page 17

December, 2001

A Blank Piece of Paper

By Craig D. Straight

The old man sat in his chair with a blank piece of paper on the stand beside him. He placed it there with a special purpose. As he approached his final days in life, he wanted to make sure everyone from church that visited him would get a letter of thanks and encouragement.

The old man had been a member of the Lord's church for many years; the majority of his life was dedicated to the Lord and the Lord's church. He had served as elder and treasurer during the hard times and good times. Many years of his life were spent in service to the church, many hours given to the needs of others. He was there to see many members born and many pass away. If something broke, he fixed it; he was a regular handy man. The same with the people's lives that he worshiped with, if something happened or direction was needed, he was there to shepherd the way.

In the last part of his life, the struggle began and he could not get out on his own. His body was slipping away. He could not make it to church or attend services. His heart was still with the Lord; his mind was still active and knowledgeable in the Lord. He loved to talk about the Bible with anyone. When his body finally failed him and he went to be with the Lord, beside his chair and on the stand remained a blank piece of paper.

Then many years later, the old man's son at a much earlier age suffered a catastrophe in his life. He was left paralyzed on his left side. He was in the hospital and rehab for a year and finally got to go home. He cannot get out on his own and needs assisted living. He attends church when he can and that centers on being able to get a ride with a neighbor. He is a member of the same church and congregation as his father. He was born and brought up in that church.

Beside his chair on his stand is the paper that he put there. He put it there for the same purpose that his father did, and that was to record the names of visitors from church. A year and a half after being released from the hospital, he put it there, and to this day, it remains a "Blank Piece of Paper."

Jesus Christ gives us the example in Scripture about the righteous visiting the sick (Matthew 25:36 NKJV). Are we doing it?

Many claim today to be sound in doctrine, standing for the truth. They preach this loudly from the pulpit. But at the same time, a "blank piece of paper" testifies against them.

Today, many travel several miles to have debates and Gospel meetings to spread the Word to others or to defend the faith. These are good things and things that we must do. At the same time, how about our sick and shut-ins that are just a few minutes from our church buildings? Do we travel a short distance to visit them?

As we stand and point the finger toward others and say how they are doing wrong, does a blank piece of paper testify about our wrong? As congregations, preachers, elders and individuals, each of us should be working to see that a blank piece of paper will never again be left beside a chair of a member of the Lord's church.

When I was shown a blank piece of paper and told what it meant, it touched my heart. I hope and pray that it will touch the hearts of others so that all who profess to be Christians will take an interest in visiting those that are sick and unable to get out. Because one is sick and not able to leave his home, does not mean they love the Lord any less or should be written off by a congregation. He needs encouragement and edification the same as everyone else.

I am afraid that many today that are sick or shut-in miss their brothers and sisters in Christ. They miss the assembling of the saints together because of accidents, injuries and illnesses. They cannot always get out to go to church.

How heavy it must be on their hearts when they look beside them and see a "blank piece of paper."

Copyright 2001 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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