“I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now. . . . I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been on the news for the last 10 years.” This 911 call set police in motion to free Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, three women from the Cleveland area who were abducted in separate crimes between 2002 and 2004.
Amanda’s call wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a neighbor named Charles Ramsey. He was in his home when he heard screaming coming from the nearby residence. He later explained: “So I go over there . . . and I say, ‘Can I help? What’s going on? And she says, ‘I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been in this house a long time. I want to leave right now.'” After attempts to pry open the door failed, Ramsey kicked at it. “Luckily . . . it was aluminum, it was cheap,” he said. “And she climbed out . . . She went to my house, we called 911.”
At first, Ramsey thought he had encountered a domestic disturbance at the home of a man with whom he had barbequed and listened to Salsa music. How many of us would have walked past a situation such as this, preferring not to get involved? It’s been said, “If you want to be used by God, you must be willing to be interrupted.”
Jesus was willing to be interrupted. He touched a leper’s body (Matthew 8:3) and ate with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 9:11). He cared for pagans (Matt. 8:5-13) and demoniacs (Matt. 8:28-34), and stayed in the home of the most notorious sinner in Jericho (Luke 19:7). As he explained, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (v. 10). His ministry to the least, the last, and the lost was counter-cultural in the extreme. A pastor who befriended drug dealers and spent time with prostitutes would be no more shocking to our culture than Jesus’ ministry was to his.
Now we are his hands and feet (1 Corinthians 12:27), his presence in our hurting world. The next person you meet is your next opportunity to share his love in yours. A Cleveland resident of 25 years told the local newspaper, “This is our own backyard. These girls were locked up in our own backyard.” Who in your backyard needs your help today?
If you suspect abuse, make the call today—perhaps God wants to use you to save someone’s life. If you’re hurting this morning, know that Jesus feels your pain and shares your suffering (Hebrews 4:15). Give your need to him and trust him for his grace (Philippians 4:19).
Charles Ramsey’s actions are proof: You cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.