Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Phone Call for the Preacher

She called on a Sunday afternoon. It was about 4:00 p.m. I had come to my office at the Pulaski St. church of Christ to study my lesson for the evening worship. I have often wondered, if I had not been there, who would she have called? Maybe another church that did not teach the truth...maybe someone who could have helped her and her husband much better than I did. But she did not call somebody else. She called me.

She told me she needed help immediately. Her husband was sick and dying and she was also feeble. She wanted someone to come and pray with her and her husband. I told her I would be there immediately.

When I arrived, I learned more about her husband's terminal condition. He had a few days, maybe a week. No one had ever taught him the gospel. She had been exposed to the church over 50 years ago, but faded away from it. They were good, kind people, they just did not know the truth. We prayed together, and I taught them the plan of salvation. The next morning, Al and June Parkhill obeyed the gospel. We had to get help from the family, and a wheel chair and a special chair to baptize Mr. Parkhill. He passed away two days later. I conducted his funeral.

June immediately came to worship. Her physcial condition was poor at best. But she did all she could to come when she had the opportunity. She was very happy, even though she had to come in on her walker and it was hard for her to sit. One of the things she was very dedicated to was giving to the pantry. It always amazes me that the people who have the least often tend to give to things like the pantry the most. She insisted on people even coming to pick items up from time to time when she was unable to come on Sunday. It was not long before Mrs. Parkhill could not attend at all. She spent the remainder of her life shut-in. She appreciated every call from the church office she received, especially from David Pinckley. I regret not visiting her more.

This one phone call I received has caused me to reflect a great deal on my ministry. People need the Lord, and they expect to receive Him in some way from us. Are we doing enough? Are we handing out things but not going the extra mile? Would more people call us for help if we were more kind, more helpful, and more dependable?

My mother sent me a forwarded email this week that informed me that June Parkhill passed away on Tuesday. I have since left Lawrenceburg and will not be conducting her funeral. I am thankful for the good people at Pulaski St. and their good preacher there who will be there for this family. Although time and distance separate us, we are all linked together eternally in love and unity in the kingdom of God's dear Son. We will all be together in heaven.

I wish I could make one phone call today. I would call June Parkhill. I would thank her for the phone call she made on a Sunday afternoon. It changed her life. It changed mine.

"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" ~ Romans 10:14


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart, and encouraging us all to keep pressing on and doing the best we can for His glory. It will be wonderful to unite with the Parkhills one day.

  2. My lesson learned from this story: It is certain that many people followed Jesus "for the loaves" (Jn. 6:26); and they will do so today. They go from church-to-church, looking for a hand-out. These are users and abusers. But Jesus still helped folks. And not all who call on us are users, and even if they are, like Jesus, we need to try and work with them so they can learn the best life. So I want to to learn to listen to the abusers as well as truly needy - as they are - seeking to be more discerning and less cynical. We never know what good may come. This story makes me want the phone to ring!