Lots of people relocated for lots of reasons. Some people move for a job or for a lover; to regroup and refresh, or get their life back on track; or just because they can't stand being in one place for too long. Some people move even when they don't want to or without knowing why. Now that I have pretty much made up my mind to relocate, I want to point out the reason that will seal the decision: my faith.
The first thing that I heard about my potential new home was how sincerely nice the people are. Out of the conversation I had with my family (who lives there), the part that sticks in my mind is when my brother said: "People don't just pray for you, they actually care for you. They don't just say 'Have a nice day', they mean it."
I can't tell you how many times I've had someone say to me (and I to them), "I'll be praying for you", only to have them say the prayer and move on with their life. Did they, or I, follow up on the prayer by checking back to see how things are going? Probably not. Unless they are very close and dear to me, I know that I often felt my duty as a person ended with the "Amen" of the prayer.
There have been times when I have followed up prayers for others with a letter or phone call. I've sincerely cared what happens to the other person. There have been times when people have done more than pray for me.
I think that, as Christians, we sometimes forget that we are brothers and sisters. Instead of asking God in our prayers to bless one another, we could be doing a little blessing of our own. We could be helping that single mother with the kids by offering to babysit or provide a meal. We could be giving our cast-off furniture to the family next door instead of dropping it off at a donation center for the write-off receipt.
For years, whenever my mother saw someone inebriated or homeless, standing on the street corner with signs asking for a handout, I never once heard her say that she'd be praying for them. Instead, Mom would go somewhere and buy a hot meal and coffee and take it back to that person. Then she would pray that they were going to be nourished and blessed by that offering.
I truly believe that a lot of time, when we say that we are going to be praying for someone, we are just speaking out loud that we are Christians. I'd much rather have - and do - the action of Christianity. After all, we will even pray for our enemies. Why aren't we also doing for our brothers and sisters?
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Matthew 25:35-36After that conversation with my brother, I decided that I want to be more of a Christian in action that one who just prays for people. Whether or not this new place turns out to be all that my brother says it is, I can be all that I promised to be as a Christian.
I've been the one who, either in body or spirit, was thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and in prison. Thank God for brothers and sisters who didn't just stop at "praying" for me.