Sunday, February 28, 2010

Serving Isn't Easy When the Cat is in the Tree

Sometimes service isn't easy, but it is always rewarding. I was reminded again of that last night.

At around 7:00 PM, I was completing a sermon for today. This is when I heard some noise from outside. Our neighbor's cat was stuck in a tree. Under normal circumstances, few people would have cared. However, several factors made this situation problematic. First, this is the one nice cat in the neighborhood. Everyone loves "Missy-Lea." Second, she is overweight and would have a difficult time getting down. Third, she was about 35 feet up a tree. And fourth, her owner said he thinks she had been up in the tree for about 24 hours. It was getting dark and cold.

My neighbor managed to get Home Depot to loan a 40 foot long ladder. The problem was how to get it to the tree. After pondering this for a while, I remembered that our church has a couple of old vans that might be long enough to transport the ladder.

Several of us piled into my car and drove to the church building. We jumped into the van and drove to Home Depot. I was pleased to find out that the ladder did, in fact, fit in the van (we did have to leave the van's back door open as the ladder stuck out the back about seven feet). It was interesting to drive through Savannah traffic in this situation. I was just hoping that no over-zealous cop would pull us over. I think we were legal, but I'm not certain.

We made it back to the house. At this point the scary part began. FYI - I don't like heights. Alice, my neighbor's mother, and I all held the ladder as he climbed about 35 feet into the air. I couldn't look. I was praying silently while my wife was praying aloud. Although the whole process of getting the cat down actually only took a minute or so, it seemed like a lot longer. I'm pleased to say that God blessed the entire situation. Missy-Lea is fine and so is my neighbor.

Then it was time to reverse our steps. First we had to put the ladder back in the church van. Then we traveled back into Savannah to return the ladder to Home Depot. Then it was back to the church building. Then, finally, we made it home - at around 9:00.

I'm glad I could help my neighbor, but it was not easy. Service has a tendency to be difficult and dirty. It is also often inconvenient. Despite this, it is certainly worthwhile.

My neighbor is not a Christian. I'm hoping that this act of service will give me the opportunity to share the gospel with him. At least he knows we care.

I thank the Lord for this unexpected opportunity. I'm glad that God sees fit to scare cats up trees.


Alan Knox said...


Thank you for this post and for your example. I wonder which "sermon" was communicated the most effectively... :)


Eric said...


That's an easy one to answer!

tmagskjohns said...

What a great story, and great lesson. I often struggle with the "inconvenience" of service. Thanks for your example. I'll pray that your neighbor comes to know the Lord.

Eric said...

Thanks Mary. It was a great opportunity. I just hope we don't have to do it again too soon!

Aussie John said...


Good on ya mate! (Australianese for "Well done")

That's the beginning of making disciples. No ulterior motive. Simply serving others. God honors that with other opportunities.

Eric said...


I'm happy that God gave me this opportunity. He is gracious in allowing us to serve others.

Christiane said...

Think how much you must have cared for your neighbor to help rescue Missy Lea.
Think how much God must have cared for us when He voluntarily went up on another 'tree'.

That's love.
Your neighbor will get the connection. And you were the one who will have helped your neighbor to come to understand that kind of love.
God bless you.

Eric said...


Thank you for noticing the connection between the trees. I had somehow missed that.

Christ's love truly is amazing.