You find an old woman who’s dying of AIDS. She has tuberculosis, her body no longer able to fend off disease. Her husband and four children are dead of AIDS. She’s too weak to stand up, and lies in a filthy hut near a trash dump.
What do you do? You already have 14 adopted children to cake for and a burgeoning ministry to lead and maintain.
What do you do?
Here’s how Katie Davis answered that question: She took care of the dying woman. She loved her. She got medical help to ease her final months, and she filled the woman’s last days with love and joy. She was there when the woman died.
I don’t know what I would do. It’s easy – too easy – to say I would do the same thing. The temptation to do nothing would be great, with every justification coming to mind as I walked away.
Katie Davis didn’t walk away, even as she was plagued with doubts. And because of what she did, people who watched and understood became Christians. If that’s what your God does, then I want your God, too.
This is the kind of loving action that set the early church apart from its pagan environment – the Christians cared for widows and orphans. No one did in Roman society. Widows could become beggars or starve; orphan children could be enslaved and abused. No objections would be raised because it was standard operating procedure in the Roman world.
The Christians, however, were different. They took care of widows and orphans. And people noticed. People responded because we are made to respond to human needs. In taking care of widows and orphans, the Christians lived a Sunday sermon seven days a week. And it was one reason why, through more than 250 years of on-again, off-again, regional, local and national persecutions, some awful and severe, the church continued to grow.
Because it took care of those widows and orphans.
Because Katie Davis took care of an old woman dying of AIDs. An old woman named Grace.
Led by Jason Stayszsen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis and Beth Clark. To see more posts on this chapter, “A Jja Ja for Us,” please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.