As was my brother’s routine sometime around early fall 2010, Mike Clark and
Gary Lively were running their Saturday morning Thrift Store furniture pickup
route. While crossing the Ouachita River bridge they noticed a man in pajamas
staring down at the river. The details of whether they stopped as they approached
or turned around, I don't know; however, what I do know is they seized upon a
moment of opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell
among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half
dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw
him he passed by on the other side. So likewise, a Levite, when he came
to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as
he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
Before that day's end the man my brothers 'talked off the ledge' received clothes
to wear, food to eat and a safe harbor of refuge in which to lodge!
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of
you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them
the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it
does not have works, is dead.
Invitations extended to our rescued brother to join fellowship gatherings
were accepted and attended. Work opportunities to earn income were acted
upon. Conversations interwoven with Truth evidenced time in God's Word.
All taken together appeared reflective of genuine sincerity on the part of our
How do we discern whether we're giving a hand up or a hand out? How
does one ferret out grace to help from enabling an unhealthy lifestyle?
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes,
or figs from thistles?
As patterns of behavior remained consistent, our relationships grew and bonds
of trust strengthened over time. Then sometime in 2011 the consequences of
our new Brother's past choices required of him a sentence of correctional
detention. During a period of 4-1/2 years we maintained contact by writing and
periodic visits. We witnessed an inner turmoil transform to an inner joy during
our visits as our incarcerated Brother shared of his involvement with the prison
chapel music ministry, the prison band, the carpenter shop, ministering to
fellow inmates and being assigned the role of trustee. A distinct memory as one
of our visits were drawing to a close, when we asked how we could pray for him,
he turned that discussion into praying for us!
A year prior to his calculated release date, we began pooling our resources for
financial assistance to transition back into independence.
On October 21, 2016 I watched our Brother step out of a prison van, being
dropped off at Conway hospital wearing ankle and wrist chains, with a tee shirt,
jeans and worn out sneakers. Over the past year he caught bus routes and
arranged rides to get to work until he was able to purchase a bicycle that he
rode to work until he worked through multiple layers of obstacles to get his
driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, etc to now be driving his own car!
We celebrated our Brother's one-year release date anniversary together with
him 10/21/17 at Logan's Steak House. During our conversation he related to us
the below passage and how we lived out the truth of Christ's words:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I
was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
If you haven't yet guessed, the man that our Brothers Gary and Mike had
compassion on in a moment of life changing significance seven years ago is
The Significance of a Moment indeed!