Friday, September 08, 2006

Greg Taylor's Pant-Story

What the World Needs Now

Five years ago on September 14, 2001, my first column debuted in newsprint, only three days after the attack on America. Today’s column, like that first one, revisits the theme of choosing to come alongside our fellowmen.

Greg Taylor a former missionary in Uganda, said that he often saw his boyhood preacher Robert Hamm model ways to love God and others. While Greg was in Uganda, Robert and his wife Loretta Hamm came to visit the village churches there.

On that visit they met a Ungandan man named Sauti, who had on tattered trousers. Away from shops and stores, this village church was two hours back in the bush, reached by dirt roads. Greg tells of Robert’s compassion:

“When Robert saw Sauti’s shredded pants dangling from his waist, he decided to give the man a pair of pants right then and there.” Greg shrugged off his offer, “I’ll bring him a pair another day.” But Robert Hamm insisted, and Sauti’s need overrode propriety.

Greg said, “Robert is a compassionate and kind man. Robert would give you the shirt off his back . . . or his pants.” At first Greg thought Robert Hamm was kidding. But “he suggested going to the pickup, slipping off his trousers, and giving them to Sauti.”

Greg finishes the story: “He went to the truck and took off his trousers and handed them out the window to me. He stayed in the truck until we left a few minutes later, and as we drove off, Sauti was grinning, a proud owner of Robert’s breeches.”

Thirty amazed onlookers saw a “respected elder American man . . . serve a poor village man by giving him his pants on the spot.”

Bruce Marchiano tells a similar story about hospitality, but this time the gift passed from poverty to a rich man. In a poor region of a foreign country, Marchiano’s Jeep had a flat tire. He replaced it at roadside where a local man noticed his dirty hands and invited him to wash up in his home.

In his hut were few possessions, but he had a bar of pristine white soap, his only luxury. The man insisted that Bruce wash his hands and use the soap, and then he made a gift of the soap.

Today, the change agent to terrorism, hatred, envy, and strife is love. The apostle John wrote: “[L]ove each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God” (1 John 4:7 The Message).

Come alongside your fellowman; it’s what the world needs now, love, sweet love.

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1 comment:

  1. Great story. I need to tuck this away and save it for a Sunday school lesson.