July 1, 2019 - Lori Jagow
I was deeply moved when I watched an interview on “Entertainment Tonight” with Dick York shortly before he died. Dick York played the first Darrin on the Television show “Bewitched” during the 1960s. This interview moved me to tears as I watched this humble, compassionate man, suffering from a terminal illness, talk about how he was helping the homeless.
Illness had left York surviving on a poverty-level pension. However, from his small Michigan home, York inspired many people to donate funds to help feed millions of destitute people. Amazed at this man’s compassion, the celebrity image I once held now paled in comparison to the real person, the faithful, devoted family man and humanitarian I was now privy to. I couldn’t help thinking of his family and how blessed they were to have him. I don’t know why, but I just felt compelled to share my thoughts with his family, but I wouldn’t have a clue of where to begin looking for them.
Shortly after seeing the interview with Dick York, the strangest coincidence happened. I had commented on something on Facebook. I do not remember what it was about, but it had to do with classic television shows. (l love classic TV!) As I scrolled through the comments, I noticed the name, Chris York. Could this be a relative of Dick York? I wondered.
As it would turn out, Chris York is the son of actor Dick York, and he was campaigning for his father to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chris and I became Facebook friends, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to share with him how touched I had been by his father’s story.
I believe that God led me to share this story so that others may be inspired by it as well. Dick York is an inspiration in that we too can make a difference by using what God has given us even if very little. When I asked York’s son, Chris, if there was anything he would like to say about his father, he said, “My dad was the driving force in my family. Here’s a quote from my dad as he neared the end of his life:
“‘I’ve been blessed. I have no complaints. I’ve been surrounded by people in radio, on stage, and in motion pictures and television who love me. The things that have gone wrong have been simply physical things.’
“This is how he lived his life and what I strive to do as well,” stated Chris.
Like Dick York, not everyone can get out into the community or go to church. Some who have small children have a hard time finding time to serve outside the home. How then can people make a difference despite prohibiting circumstances? We all can make a difference, and believers who are a part of the Body of Christ are called to serve. I want to offer some inspiration on how you can help build your church, community, and the world no matter what your limitations.
God finds faithful people He can trust to serve. You and I can experience these things in this life, to some measure, if we will allow Christ to work through us. God understands we are all busy, and serving in the church should not lead to overextending and burn out. We all need to know our limits and say no when it means we are overextending ourselves. The Bible does not call us to burn out for Jesus.
If confinement, time, and availability make it challenging for you to volunteer in your church or community, here are some simple, but impactful ways to make a difference:
Share your testimony of how God has worked in your life. There are various ways to do so, such as a church blog, news article, or a thankful moment. Your words could encourage and help those in your church, even if you are not able to speak to them in person.
Send cards to encourage those going through a difficult time.
Sharing on Facebook is another powerful tool to share what is happening at your church. Every time you leave a COMMENT on Facebook, the post shows up again in the newsfeed. This will increase the likelihood of more people seeing the post. Organizations have raised millions of dollars through Facebook post interaction. Therefore, do not underestimate the power of LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT, and REPOST as you are greatly helping your church get the word out to people about its ministries and events.
In the midst of suffering, you can be a testimony. Those in your church who see your faithfulness will be encouraged in their walk with the Lord. Their faith will strengthen on account of you.
When God has a willing soul, He will bless the work of your hands to help many. If your circumstances are such that you are the one needing ministering to, then reach out for help, and those doing the ministering will be blessed by having the opportunity to help you. St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Prayer is a vital ministry. God chooses to work through the prayers of His children, and “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b, NIV). Prayer is an awesome opportunity to minister to those in your church!
Lori Jagow is pastoral counselor, blogger, and staff member at Pendleton Center United Methodist Church. Email LoriJagow@pcumc.org if you would like to learn more about making a difference at Pendleton Center United Methodist Church!