Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians talks about the poorest of the New Testament churches being selected by God for a special treasure, the treasure of being able to give. That reminded me of an experience that Gary and I shared a few years ago. We have been volunteering for six or seven years now with the Texas Ramp project – a non-profit organization that provides wheelchair ramps for people who have the need but no means to provide it for themselves. A few years ago, we had the privilege of building a very large, two story ramp for a family that lived in the country southeast of Austin. The home was an old mobile home which sat on top of a hill. The family had very, very little in the way of material wealth but we later found out that they were incredibly rich in love and generosity.
We demolished a couple of sets of rickety stairs and began the build – the largest we have ever done while working alongside one of the largest groups of volunteers that we have ever built with. It was hard work and we spent many hours in the sun and wind. As we were finishing up late that afternoon, the little girl that needed the ramp came outside with her mother. I don’t remember their names – it has been too many years. But I certainly remember their story. The little girl was born healthy and perfect. While she was a tiny infant, a frustrated adult picked her up and shook her over and over. This precious little infant went from perfect health to being a little girl who would grow up unable to walk, unable to speak, and unable to take care of herself. She was placed in foster care and given to a woman who fell in love with her just as she was. A woman who loved this little girl so much that she adopted her. A woman who had cared for her for nine years, meeting all of her physical and emotional needs with tenderness, compassion and love. A woman who needed the ramp because even though she carefully monitored her little girls diet and ensured that she remained at a healthy weight for her small stature was finding it increasingly difficult to carry her from the mobile home at the top of the hill to the long winding driveway where the school bus could pick her up each day.
This loving, compassionate lady is a Riverbed! She poured out love onto a little girl that will never really be able to reciprocate her love, a little girl that will remain in a body that will never heal and a little girl that will always require daily care giving for the most basic needs. Gary and I helped give her family a ramp that day but we received so much more than we gave. It was pure JOY to give back to this woman who humbled us by her example. Our simple gift of being able to help build her ramp was so small in comparison to her unselfish gift of love and sacrifice.
Father, thank you for the incredible treasure of being able to give to others. Help us to seek YOUR leading to those that we can bless through OUR giving. Thank you for leading us to those who inspire us with THEIR giving.