Good Fellowship/Good Times
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. ~1 John 3:16-18
I watched a good deal of TV when I was a kid and one of my favorite shows was a show called “Good Times”. This show followed the lives of a struggling low-income family (mother, father, and three children) living in the projects in Chicago. Ever seen this show? Funniest thing ever, but Ozzie and Harriet it wasn’t. No manicured lawns. No perfectly groomed mother opening the door for her perfectly coiffed children after school. No happily employed dad reading his paper in front of the fireplace after enjoying a gourmet meal cooked by his wife.
Uh-uh. In “Good Times” these folks were facing the rough side of the mountain. Threatening evictions. Lay offs. Overpriced and poorly provided food. Gang violence. Electric and hot water shutoffs. Tough school systems. Issues with racism. And while you would think that all these issues don’t lend themselves to a laugh-fest, this show was a comedy. A very good comedy.
My favorite episode ever was an episode from the third season of “Good Times”, titled “The Rent Party”. Here’s a brief description from the Web: While J.J. is in St. Louis at an art show, the Evans family decides to hold a rent party to help out Wanda, a neighbor in the building, whose electricity has just been turned off. However, the party may come to a quick halt when the heartless building superintendent, Nathan Bookman catches wind of it. Meanwhile, Michael, Thelma, Willona and Florida all prepare to provide entertainment during the party.
I’ve always loved this episode. I’ve seen it a million times and now I know why.
The “Rent Party” shows the exact manner in which Christians should take care of their fellow Christian family members. I say “should” because that’s not what I typically see happening today. Let me back track for a second, when the Evans family finds out that a widow needs help, they immediately launch into action, pooling all their talents and resources to get her the money she needs and they even take the money to the rental office to make sure it is received properly. During the whole thing, not once did anyone say “you know, we all need to pray for her”, or “let’s fast and see how the Lord leads us”, or “let’s launch a capital campaign.”
Praying and fasting and capital campaigns are all wonderful things and I’ve participated in all of them. However, the Bible is very clear that when a poor widow is in need, you simply meet the need. And you meet the need the best that you can. Since no one in the Evans family had the means to just pay the rent for the widow, they got their friends together, found a space, sang, danced, provided stand-up, and charged everyone a small fee to see it. They collected the money and met the need. Period.
As Christians, we are called to meet the needs of our family members when the need arises (1 John 3:16-18). In modern day society, we’ve gotten further into being analytical and being concerned about being cheated that we’ve nearly forgotten to drop everything and CARE.
For me, I’d like to grow to be like the people in the Evans family. See a need and meet it. Then, have a party and boogie down!
Keisha Gilchrist-Broomes is a technical documentation developer, blogger and Christian fiction writer.
Her work-in-progress novel, Mrs. Jones, focuses on the passion and pain of a husband and wife fighting for their marriage through a year of the biggest trials they’ve ever faced together. Keisha is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can find her on the Web at http://redletterwritingdiva.wordpress.com.