As of this writing, the news reports say the town of Marmaduke, Arkansas, is half gone. The remaining structures have minor to moderate damage. One of yesterday’s 63 tornados devastated the town.
The photo on the Fox News website shows the Marmaduke church of Christ building where my family met for several years. Where I preached my first sermons. The town where I graduated from high school.
Most of my family has moved to the county seat in Paragould, but there is still great concern for friends and brethren in Marmaduke.
And then there’s Newbern, Tennessee, where the Lemalsamac church meets. These brethren have helped support our work in Brazil for many years.
I wrote a brother there this morning. Daniel thinks all the saints in the church there are alive. He wrote me this morning:
“The tornado hit just behind my house about 1/4 mile. One also hit close to the church building, but I think everyone from church is OK. We did talk to Alan and Cindy Sims who live close to the church, and they said it was bad, but they are OK. They do have a storm shelter though. I know one family that use to attend church at Lemalsamac, whose house was hit, but they are fine. They live about 1 1/2 miles from the church. All the schools are closed, and now they are saying that 15 are dead in Dyer County so far. It was horrible, but we are still kicking. My wife and I are expecting a new baby girl any day or minute, and I just knew last night would be the night she would go into labor. We survived the night and are waiting to hear from everyone.”
Daniel shows in his email what we all feel when disasters and crises occur, the concern for loved ones and friends.
This concern shows itself best in God’s people.
The Philippians worried about Paul’s situation and sent him funds time and again. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity” (Philippians 4:10 ESV).
And Paul wanted to send Timothy to help the Philippians, since he told them, “For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare” (Philippians 2:20).
When the prophet Agabus foretold a worldwide famine, the Antioch Christians thought of the Judean saints — and acted. “So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:29,30).
Epaphras showed his concern through intense intercession. “He is always wrestling in his prayers for you, so that you may stand mature and completely convinced of the entire will of God. For I can testify on his behalf that he has a deep concern for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hieropolis” (Colossians 4:12,13 ISV).
Paul reminds us that God has made the church, as the body of Christ, in such a way “so that there might be no disharmony in the body, but that its parts should have the same concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is praised, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25,26).
Financial aid. Visits. Prayers. Empathy. These are the ingredients of real concern.
Show your concern for your loved ones and for the family of Christ.
Real concern for loved ones and for the family of Christ has specific ingredients.