“It was good to get my hands dirty,” said Michael W. Smith as he concluded a long day of removing debris and sweeping glass from homes in Tuscaloosa ravaged by the April 27 tornadoes. “I can do more than just sing,” he added with a laugh. “I helped my dad build a couple of houses in high school.”
Smith, his wife, Debbie, and daughter, Annie, joined Big Kenny of the country band Big and Rich, along with Kenny’s wife, Christiev, on May 2 in helping homeowners still reeling from the tornado’s path of destruction.
As the day unfolded, Smith spent time checking on the emotional and spiritual condition of the people he met, and praying with those who were hurting. “We got to minister to some great people today,” he said. “We’ve been hearing God stories up and down these streets of how He helped them survive.”
Smith believes this is the moment for the church to rise up. “My biggest concern is that people will forget,” he said before returning to Nashville. “This recovery effort is going to be for the long haul. We’ll definitely be back.”
Getting his hand dirty is nothing new for Smith, who has helped with Samaritan’s Purse and BGEA recovery efforts in Haiti. His heart for service, which is well known in Christian music circles and beyond, stems from his desire to bless others.
In a recent interview about his book, A Simple Blessing: The Extraordinary Power of an Ordinary Prayer, Smith said that “blessing others is what life’s all about. I’ve always been an encourager. I just love to love on people and especially people who have not been loved very well.”
But as much as he believes in the power of words to bless people, there is also a time for action, said Smith. “We can sing worship songs until we’re blue in the face and have big gatherings, but if we’re not feeding the poor, taking care of the oppressed, and looking out for the orphans and widows, then we’ve just totally missed it.”
How to Pour Yourself Out
Serving others is what we’re called to do as the church, said Smith. “The bride of Christ is really the hope of the world. I don’t think there’s a Plan B and I think whatever we do with our lives, it’s got to be an outpouring of who we are.”
The more we find ourselves in outpour mode, he added, “just pouring into people and saying a blessing over somebody or helping somebody pay their rent or buy some ice and groceries, those are the important things in life.
“You know, helping a little old lady who lives only two blocks from you that doesn’t have family, little things like that.”
For some people, blessing others might mean cleaning up after a tornado, or helping people in Ethiopia get clean water, or building a house in Haiti. It was for Smith: “My greatest joy all year long was to be able to build a family a little house in Haiti. I think it’s so far greater than any award or being recognized for my music.”
Then there are times when a simple prayer can bless someone. “I do that a lot,” Smith said. “Even just a touch, you know, even just a hand on somebody’s shoulder and tell them that you love them. I think that’s a blessing.”
He hopes that when people read his book, A Simple Blessing, they will understand the heart of Abba Father, who not only loves us, “but actually really likes us and wants to be in a relationship with us and wants to be our friend.” Smith considers that to be “95 percent of the battle.”
Once you really understand the grace and the heart of God for you, he added, “I think you can do anything. Once you understand what really brings great joy and happiness in life, just pour your life into other people so that grace pours out. Then just be a faucet, man. Turn on the faucet and let it go.”
Be the Hands and Feet of Christ
As the RRT continues to minister in Alabama, we appreciate your help with this and other outreach efforts. Please give today to help hurting people at home and around the world.