Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:21-30
We make a living by what we get; but we make a life by what we give.Winston Churchill
In his book, Thirst, Scott Harrison tells the story of his dream to bring clean water to the world. He describes the book in the subtitle: “A story of redemption, compassion, and a mission to bring clean water to the world.” Though a work of nonfiction, the book is full of action and reads like an exciting novel.
At the age of 26, Harrison walked away from financial success to seek a life of meaning. He spent 16 months on a hospital ship in West Africa and realized that there were successes more rewarding than those which had a monetary value. He was stunned at the extent of the living conditions, poverty and need in the countries they visited. He was always amazed at the hundreds of people seeking their help as their ship sailed into port. He marveled at how the smallest kindness had the largest results.
The story of Kwanam, a woman with large, odorous facial tumors, exemplified this adage. For the first time in her life, she courageously left her home and trekked to the Mercy Ships to see if there was any help available to her. As she stood in the long line, she almost turned around and left.
At that very instant, a volunteer was passing by. He saw her and stopped. Putting his hand on her shoulder, he said “We are going to try to help you.” It was the first time anyone had touched her for 10 years. She stayed.
Let’s thank God for people like Scott Harrison.
Or people like the apostle Paul. Today’s reading from Philippians reminds us of all he did — like Scott Harrison — to bring water, the “living water” to people in his world. The subtitles to the letters he wrote in the New Testament could read like Harrison’s: “A story of redemption, compassion and a mission to bring the Living Water to the world.” Like Harrison, he had passion. In Philippians 1:21, we read: “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.”
Yes, we are grateful for people devoted to helping others with physical and spiritual needs.
Keep me mindful, O God, of the hurts and needs of others and give me the grace to be kind. Amen.