Monthly Reflection – June 2015
This month’s reflection has arrived with you around a week late this month due to it being a very busy time in the Evans household!
Why do we bother?
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25 34-40
‘Why do I bother?’ is a question many people in the Police service will have asked over the years- I am one of those people! Usually it is to do with doing a load of work for something and either getting little or no thanks or criticised later…. We have all been there!
I was chatting the other day with a colleague and I was explaining to him about how C.P.A. works and some of the on-going work we are doing in the Constabulary and with outside charities. We were talking about our on-going commitment to provide Christian reading material for our custody suites and some work around attempting to help the organisation combat sickness in terms of stress, depression and anxiety. We have managed to secure funding from a local charity to assist us in sourcing literature from two very worthwhile Christian charities ‘Care for the Family’ who have fantastic resources available to assist with a wide variety of issues and ‘Christians Against Poverty’ the second largest charity debt advice service in the country who provide excellent support for anyone struggling with personal debt. I was explaining to him that with sickness levels as they are it was clear that staff support networks could offer another string to the organisations bow in terms of dealing with this issue- He looked at me with a funny look in his eyes and simply said ‘ I don’t know why you bother; no one is going to thank you for all that work’.
I was to be honest a bit stunned by that remark as generally when you talk about trying to help people Police officers and staff understand ‘partnership working’. He went on to say that sickness, depression, Stress, Anxiety and debt are ‘the jobs and governments’ problem and not ours to do anything about!
I am happy to say that we agreed to disagree and I was able to share the piece of scripture above with him! In our roles as Police officers and staff it is very easy for us even as Christians to become cynical and in some ways uncaring very quickly. Sometimes it is important to remind ourselves of why we do what we do as Police employees and as Christians! I have shared with some of you before a small story from my time as a Custody Sergeant based at Watford which highlights the very essence of the scripture from Matthew- I was working a late shift sometime during the winter early last year when the call came through that a male shoplifter had been arrested in ‘Shoe zone’ in Watford for theft of a pair of shoes. Due to his previous offending record he was not suitable for an out of custody disposal and as such was en-route to me- I was warned however that he may need to see a medic due to his feet being injured.
On arrival he had newspaper and ‘cling film’ wrapped around his feet instead of shoes and no socks on. On booking him in he made a number of comments about his arrest and that the reason he had stolen some shoes was that he was homeless and whilst sleeping out rough a few days before his own shoes had been stolen. He went on to say that he had tried to do his best with paper and some cling film but his feet were now hurting so much that he couldn’t take it anymore…… it was clear looking at his feet he did in fact need to see a Doctor and also did need…… Yes you have guessed it ‘shoes’.
As a Police Officer I have to respond to the prisoner in one way but I also as a Christian need to respond to the need of that man placed before me- I did what I thought was right; having found out his shoe size I went and I sourced him a pair of shoes- nothing fancy or vastly expensive but none the less probably worth their weight in gold to him! I gave him the shoes to try on in his cell and when I found he had no socks to wear I gave him my spare pair out of my locker. I had met his need- shoes and socks! To a number of people (Including the prisoner) it appeared that I had done something really strange…. Really unusual and to some totally bizarre…. I had helped someone who needed it!! Why because it was the right thing to do- That man had been placed in front of me and I had identified a need- pretty simple isn’t it…. Meeting the needs of those God places in front of us- I had the great pleasure to preach in church in Watford this Sunday about the parable of the Good Samaritan; where we are called to ‘Love thy neighbour as thy self’– a radical yet simple instruction from Jesus to us all- Love thy neighbour; Love those around us and in some cases do more than use fine words and sentiment but actually show the Love of Christ in our deeds and actions!
The reason we bother is that as Christians we are all called to ‘Love our Neighbours’ and that by doing this we live out the great commission and share the Love of Christ with those around us- Our Lord Jesus Christ was selfless in his giving to us when he died on the cross in the place that we deserve- we must show that kind of selfless Love and Commitment to help people at home and at work however our paths cross! In the scripture above it is a clear encouragement to us all to take up our cross daily and make someone’s day just a bit better if we can!
So this month I would like to encourage you all that even if you help someone or the organisation with an issue and no one thanks you that making someone’s day, week, month, year or life that little bit better has rewards that you cannot measure!
Help us all to remember that we serve a selfless and giving God who gave up everything to save us even though we didn’t deserve it. Help us to serve the needs of those we see around us every day and to know that whatever we do for the least of these people we do for you Lord.