Small Town, Big Hearts 

By Jennifer Thomas

Just this past week, when three local men – Daniel Payne, Reagan Hardaway and Chancey Hawk –  were injured and burned in a work accident, our small town came together. Tragedy has a way of bringing people together. It helps us to see what really matters and that life can change in an instant. We reach out to others without hesitation. Our words change toward one another. We treat others with more compassion, kindness, love, and genuine concern. We see families, friends, and strangers coming together to pray. We see the generosity of a small town with big hearts.

I have witnessed, as many of you have, an outpouring of love, prayer, and support for these men and their families. A time of community prayer and a blood drive were organized quickly. People wanting to help in any way they can. Division and differences were set aside. We see one another, as we always should, all created in the image of God.

So many scriptures talk about living out the “one anothers.” These are just a few that come to mind as I witness what is happening in us and among us. Pray for one another. (James 5:16) Bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) Comfort one another. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) Keep loving one another; show hospitality to one another. Serve one another (1 Peter 4:8-10a) Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25). I could go on and on. God’s Word reminds us that it is a responsibility and privilege to be a part of the Kingdom work here on earth. The Holy Spirit enables us to care for the “one anothers” in our lives, not only in times of tragedy, but in all times.

May we not forget how these actions reflect the heart of our Lord and Savior and this should be the reflection seen in us toward one another. But, in all honesty, we struggle in our human nature and in our current culture to be the body of Christ, to reflect His character as we should. People need to see and feel the love of Christ in all seasons and all situations and we are the His ambassadors here and now. We are all He’s got.

Christ has no body but yours; no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which His compassion looks out upon the world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
~ St. Teresa of Avila

There will always be another tragedy, loss, or situation that calls for us to come together to care for, comfort, and love another. But, that care and love is needed all day, every day regardless of what is happening. May we be not only be a small town with big hearts, but also a small town with big love.

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