As someone who works at a church, we often have people come in who need help of some kind. Last week a young woman came who needed groceries. I gave her a form to complete and went to get them. I offered to carry them out for her and we chatted a bit on the way to her car. After I placed the sack in her car, she reached out and touched me on the arm and thanked me. Walking back to the church, I immediately thought of this book.
In Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry, the author, Lore Ferguson Wilbert, examines how Jesus touched others throughout His ministry. She writes: Jesus touches the feeble and the women, the bleeding and the unclean, and the heads of adulterous women. He heals on the Sabbath using His hands. He touches the diseased and the children. He allows Himself to be touched too, by unclean people, women, snot-nosed kids, tax collectors and sinners.
The author then explores how touch can be redeemed in the church, in our marriage, and in the people we meet each day. This book caused me to think of how I need to intentionally touch my mom and grandmother, both widows, whether it be with a hug or kiss on the cheek. Wilbert’s words in regard to touch in marriage challenged me to show love to my husband by just holding his hand or rubbing his back at night. Simple gestures of love that we have lost through the years. My eyes are now open for the hurting, the abused, and the down and out, that may not know the sincere touch of someone who cares for them.
If Jesus is our ministry example, and He is, then appropriate touch done in love and compassion will be a part of our ministry to others. Wilbert reminds us: Though the world cannot touch Jesus, it can touch us. And Christ is in us. In a profound way, when the world comes into contact with us, it comes in contact with Him. In other words, we are the way the Thomases of this world gain their sight.
Next time, I want to be the one who reaches out to give that touch or hug and not the other way around. I want them to see Christ in me.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert has encouraged me for many years at her blog Sayable. She writes thoughtfully, truthfully and always points her readers to Christ. I received an advance reader’s copy from B&H Publishers. Learn more about Handle with Care and a wonderful gift package if you pre-order at handlewithcarebook.com.