A Message for You — June 10, 2010

We’re all in life together

by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS
North Kent Presbyterian Church

One of my members recently sent the following story to me:

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

“What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, his head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap—alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house—the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer’s wife did not get well—she died. So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon. And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

Whether it is helping someone who is dealing with illness, surgery or aging, or responding to global needs such as hunger, poverty or the oil disaster in the gulf, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn’t concern you, remember: When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk—we are all involved in this journey called life—we must keep an eye out for one another.

Nothing you can do to help is not much of an excuse. One of the best things about being part of a church community is banding together with others to meet the needs of neighbors, both close to home and around the world. I frequently hear people say, “I don’t need to join a church to worship God.” Perhaps. But consider this: Being part of a faith community multiplies your effectiveness in helping those who are at risk.

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