What is Our Business?

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

“It isn’t any of our business, is it, Lord?” A little girl with a tender conscience asked this question in her evening prayer. She had seen a poor needy man on the street that day. “Oh, Mama,” she had said, “let’s help him.” The mother had answered, “Come along, dear. It isn’t any of our business.” 

That night, when the little girl had said, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” she added, “Oh God, bless that poor man on the comer.” And then remembering her mother’s words that day, she added, “But really, it isn’t any of our business, is it, Lord?” 

Unknowingly the little girl expressed a tragic fact. Many of us grow up conditioned by the feeling that the world and the people about us are none of our business. How untrue! Recall Dickens’ Christmas Carol and be haunted by those words of Jacob Marley’s Ghost. “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop in the water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

Everyman is our business. What happens to the person next door, down the street, across town, yes, even beyond the ocean is our business. We too easily forget one of the clearest words of Jesus, “Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these you did it unto me.” 

At our age, living in a community like Kirby Pines, it is easy to seclude ourselves, to shut off from others. We even think “other peoples’ lives are none of my business.” The fact is others are our business, and our setting gives us opportunity to take care of business by genuinely caring for one another. 

Because we are “retired,” or at an age that has moved us from a former “active” life, does not relieve us the responsibility of caring. To be sure, there are needs in our community and we can focus our caring locally. But our attention must be broader. I suggest we listen to the news to keep us sensitive to the needs of the world, thus our praying can be focused. And most of us can contribute financially as well as pray. I am convinced that praying and contributing financially to causes that are serving the world is a means of grace that enables us to be more purposefully Kingdom People

-Maxie Dunnam