I was walking out of intensive care after sending Suzie off to yet another surgery when I was waylaid.

“Here,” he said as he shoved something into my hand. It was a couple from church. “You need to go get something to eat.You’ve got to take care of yourself too or you’ll be of no use to Suzie.”

I looked down at a wad of cash in my hand. There was a couple of hundred dollars. I was speechless with appreciation. I hadn’t been thinking of myself at all.

“Go right now before the doctors have news,” he said before I could respond. I finally thanked them and obeyed mindlessly. I was in no condition to think clearly for myself.

That’s what Action Encouragers do. They just take care of things. No big conversations. No plans. Just do what needs to be done.

They are a special kind of wonderful.

There’s a boldness about their action. It’s kind of like the old saw,”Better to ask forgiveness than permission,” except on the positive side.

People in a crisis are often in some level of shock and embarrassment and are struggling for control. I know I had no idea how helpful these special people could be and would probably have macho’d up and said we could handle it ourselves if they’d asked.

That’s not to say that they take over or get in the way. They are here and gone like some kind of encouragement ninjas, wanting no credit or attention for themselves.

Like some kind of encouragement ninjas.

They brush aside polite protests, knowing there’s a greater need than anyone wants to admit. Pride, pain and shock are simply not allowed to stand in the way of their help.

For example, Martha, the “Suzie Sunshine” lady I mentioned yesterday, organized a team of volunteers to bring evening meals to the house. It was an amazing, constant stream of people. Me, being the I-can-do-it type, felt a little guilty after Suzie was through the immediate crisis and tried to tell her we would be okay by ourselves.

“Don’t you dare!” she said. I was surprised by her firmness. “Don’t you dare tell these people they can’t help. They are lining up to try and do something for you. Don’t deny them their chance to minister to you!”

I was surprised into silence and finally agreed. It was humbling. I had no idea how much more help we would need or how much more trouble was coming. There was more than a year of discovering cancers to come. I had no idea how we would even pay the bills with all of the time I had to take off.

Without their bold, insistent action, our lives would have been much worse. I’ll never forget these people. And never be able to repay them. But I love them.

Jesus once told a parable about a father asking his two sons to do something. One said he would and then forgot about it. The other said he wouldn’t and then repented and did what he was asked. The second son obviously did better.

But the Action Encouragers just show up, ready to do something without being asked. I think that may be best of all.

So, when you need help, call an Action Encourager. Or just pray. They’ll probably show up without asking.

Just try not to get in their way.