This should be easy, I thought as I prepared to enter high school. I didn’t expect to have any problems making friends or interacting with my classmates. Unfortunately, my confidence was shattered on the very first day of school, when I met the boy seated next to me in class.
Today would have been my daughter Rejoice’s birthday. It’s our custom to celebrate this day every year since she passed away by remembering some of the special moments she shared with us.
This year, mine is the orchid story.
The Roman author Tertullian (c.160–c. 225), when speaking of the early church, reported that the pagans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!” Clearly the Christians’ concern and care was visible in their actions, attitudes, and words.
The day before Thanksgiving, I saw an article about a “Turkey Operation” here in Austin, Texas. The organization was calling for volunteers to help serve and pack meals for those not fortunate enough to already be looking forward to that wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that I enjoy so much. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry jelly, peas and carrots, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie … and that’s just the beginning!
“It’s not fair! They’re getting more than we are.”
“Things are tough enough as it is. How come they’re being favored?”
“What’s the difference between us? Only our language!”
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
—Proverbs 11:25 NIV
Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple.
—Scott Adams (b. 1957)
I have spent the past several years caring for loved ones. I helped care for friends who had serious illnesses, and I became a full-time caregiver for my mother until she passed away from terminal cancer in 2009.
I love to hear about heroes, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Ever since an unknown Mesopotamian author thought up Gilgamesh’s quests, or Homer sang of Achilles’ war exploits and Ulysses’ odyssey to get home, people have been inspired and thrilled by the adventures, bravery, and wisdom of great champions. Others, such as composers, writers, philosophers, and so on, may have lived less adventurous lives, but their accomplishments set them apart as well.
You may not feel great or as if you have hero-like qualities of your own; even the apostle Paul lamented, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”1 Yet God can make more of us than we are, if we avail ourselves of the help of His Son, Jesus. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2
Victor was a carabinero, or police officer, stationed at the remote Chilean customs compound known as Los Libertadores, high in the Andes on the border with Argentina. Since Victor had received special training in mountain rescue work, he was usually assigned to dangerous areas like this one. He enjoyed the mountains, but missed his family.