They gathered together, curiously, and asked the question: “Teacher, how are we to be the church?” And the Teacher replied with a story.
“Let me tell you the story of two churches,” the Teacher said.
“The first church,” he said, “had a hundred members and one fell sick. because she was contagious, the church members could not visit her. The members were worried. Each member, in turn, called the pastor. “Pastor,” they said, “you need to visit this woman!” The pastor’s phone rang day and night with calls. Each person yelled, “you are not doing enough!” and “you need to do more for this woman!” and “Why are you not there!” The phone rang so often, and the members were so persistent, that the Pastor spent all his time on the phone. This delayed the Pastor from actually getting to see the sick woman. When he did finally visit, the woman was sad. “Where are all my friends?,” she said. “I have not gotten a phone call or a call from a single one of them!” The pastor responded, “oh, they are very worried about you. They care very much.” But she did not believe him. “No one has called, no one has sent a card. if they cared, they would reach out.” She was very sad and lonely, no matter what the Pastor said to comfort her.
“The second church,” the Teacher said, “was just over the hill from the first church. It also had a hundred members, Also, one member fell sick and could not be visited. The members of this church were worried, too. Each member reached out to the sick woman. They called; they sent letters. They sent flowers and balloons. The pastor (not having to field lots of phone calls from the church) got to spend lots of afternoons visiting the sick woman. Whenever he stopped by, the woman blossomed showing him the cards and flowers. She would say, “I may be sick, but I know I am loved. My friends make sure I remember that.” And the pastor prayed with her, and they thanked God for all her church friends. And the sick woman was very content.
And the Teacher finished the story by asking, “which group do you think was the church to the sick woman in their midst?”
“The second, of course,” they replied. “They reached out to her in her time of need.”
And the Teacher said, “Go, and do likewise.”