I'm very frustrated with people who say, "Oh, I'm so sorry you're going through that. Please give me a call and let me know what I can do to help." I've watched dear friends go through really tough times. I mean break you down, don't know if you'll ever get up tough times. And I've watched them actually swallow their pride, grab their courage, find the phone number, and CALL that person for help. You know what the answer is 99.9% of the time? It goes something like this:
"I'm sorry, but I'm busy with family stuff right now." (the Body IS your family)
"I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable doing that." (since when did God say serving Him would be comfortable?)
"I'm sorry, but I've thought about it some more, and I realize I over-committed myself." (think twice, speak once)
"Isn't that the job of the deaconesses?" (oh, we don't do that, but does she need a meal? We could arrange meals for her!)
"We should really have a committee that takes care of the single moms" (but I bet you won't be on it)
"I'll pray for you" (please don't say that unless you're truly going to, because it's one of the most over-said and under-done phrases in Christianity today, IMHO)
"Oh I know how she feels, give her my best" (there is no way on God's green earth you could know how this feels)
"Maybe next month, this month is really packed" (if she gets brave enough to try AGAIN, which she probably won't)
"I'm sorry, why don't you call_________" (she probably already did, and probably already got one of the above)
Serving the body of Christ is more than bringing someone a meal. It's stepping out of your comfort zone, giving someone a break, and providing the specific thing that they are asking for. (Of course meals are nice, and if you're one of those hundreds of people who have fed me and my family through 14 surgeries, I in no way mean to under value what you did. But meals is what I needed and meals is what I got.) What if what you need is someone to put your child to bed because you need respite? What if what you need is someone to come over RIGHT THEN because you know your limits and you need distance from that challenging child? What if having your requests turned down so many times has left you feeling like an outsider in the very church where you have served for so many years? What if you felt completely alone, had no extended family and the ONLY family you had was your church family? And what if how they treated you in your time of need made you feel like an outcast, unworthy, unloved, and completely alone? What if the job God had given YOU to do with YOUR spiritual gift left you isolated? What if the county system gave you more support than your own church? How would you feel?
I say be brave. The next time someone calls you and asks you to do something that's a little out of the ordinary, or a little inconvenient, or frankly, a bit scary because you've never done it before, just step out in faith in your God and serve Him by serving that person.
After all, we're His hands and are supposed to be reaching others for Him.