Everyday Illustrations of Creative Compassion
- Monday, February 03, 2003
Part Two of Three
We can learn from Mother Teresa's example as well as her words. While love in action can mean opening a home for the impoverished in India or building an orphanage in Guatemala, it can also mean volunteering at a local hospital or helping to organize cans at a local food bank. It can mean taking a meal to a new mother or tutoring a child at the elementary school down the street.
Each of these actions is important, and each is needed. Every act of love, great or small, noticed or unnoticed, makes a positive impact in the world. Even if no one sees the love and kindness we show to others, God sees, and he knows that we are obeying his command to love our neighbor.
Let me share with you some stories of a few modern-day "Samaritans." You probably haven't heard of any of these people. They're not famous, but they're sincere. They lead full and busy lives, just like you and me. I pray that their stories encourage and inspire you.
Feeding the homeless. Rip Parker rarely misses a day. Every weekday, every weekend, Rip drives his van packed with sandwiches and water to feed the homeless men and women in downtown Dallas. Cheryl Reinhart, a loving mother and nurse practitioner, joyfully serves with Rip once a month. She also volunteers at least once a week at the Dallas Life Foundation (a homeless shelter), helping to give medical exams to the homeless. Cheryl has known her share of heartache; her teenage son was tragically killed in a car accident. Yet she offers help, love, and hope to others, saying, "We are all put on the earth for something beyond ourselves."
..."And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
Adopting girls. Lance and Carol Wagers realized their life was in for a change, but they didn't realize how big the change would be. In their early fifties and after 29 years of running a huge cheerleading company, they felt God call them into semiretirement. Since they had no children, they felt their life was an open book, and they were excited to see what story God would write on the rest of their lives.
On a mission trip down the Amazon River in Brazil, they encountered a poor family with nine children. Before they left the family's village, the mother came to Lance and Carol and asked if they would take her two youngest daughters back to the United States with them. She had been praying for years for a Christian family to adopt her daughters, then ten and eleven years old. She wanted the girls to get away from their difficult environment and have an opportunity for a better life. Hearing very clearly God's call to them, the Wagers obeyed. They eventually adopted Leni and Loraine and became an instant family with teenagers.
..."Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27).
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