A recent graduate called me last week for a ride. His car broke down on the side of the road. He'd just purchased it with money from his sales job. Unfortunately, he wasn't left with enough cash to purchase gas.
When he called I was in the thick of my sermon preparation. I was investigating Jesus' sign miracles and habit of helping others. I initially asked the young man to call someone else from our church. If no one else was available, he could call me back. A few minutes later, my study of Jesus demanded I act like Jesus. I called him back. Sure enough, no one else was available. (Or perhaps they were screening their calls afraid a sales' pitch was on the other end of the line!)
By the time I picked the young man up, he was drenched in sweat from the stifling heat. We drove to his car to collect his personal items and his stock of cutlery. The car ride to his house was enjoyable. He talked about his growth and development since graduating and entering the work force. He confessed to being lazy. And he learned about reading gas gauges.
Road side service is one of many examples of health in the scattered church. When a church collaborates in service--community gardens, oil changes for the elderly, babysitting for parents of little ones, meals for the sick, intervention for addicts, financial aid, and carpools--it expands its power and exalts Jesus. The Christ Hymn of Philippians (2:6-11) is rich with servant imagery and predicated on the call to be united in love (2:1-5). The "mind of Christ" is fully committed to road side service.