It was a bitter, cold evening in northern Virginia, many years ago. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless and the old man's body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind. As he stood there waiting he heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves, galloping along the pathway.
Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue or ice sculpture. As this rider drew near, the old man caught the rider's eyes and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side? There doesn't appear to be a passageway by foot."
Reining his horse, the rider replied, "Sure thing, climb aboard." Seeing that the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. He then took the old man, not just across the river, but to his destination, which was several miles away.
As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman's curiosity caused him to inquire, "Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. I'm curious why, on such a winter's night, would you wait and ask the last rider? What if I had refused and left you there?"
The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes and replied, "I've been around these here parts for some time. I reckon I know the people pretty good." The old-timer continued, "I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But, when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need."
Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. "I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion."
With that, Thomas Jefferson turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House!
None of us should ever feel 'above' another person's situation or need. When love rules in our hearts, our hands should be ready to help. We may or may not, be able to take care of everything, but we all can do something.
The first step is to be aware of the needs of those around us. It is so very easy to look the other way, especially in a era of recession. However, sometimes just being with someone will make all the difference. Your time and your compassion may be the very thing that creates hope, when there doesn't seem to be any.
The next step is to act upon what we see. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19:17 God always takes care of those who give easily and with their hearts, and from personal experience I can promise, "you can never out give the Lord."
I would like to urge you to be a little more aware, of those around you. Remember how good it felt, and how thankful you were when someone helped you. What's that you are thinking, 'no one has done much for you lately'? Friend, Jesus has done it all for you! Pour out your heart to Him and you will see!
One last thing, may everything you do, be done with and in the Love of Christ Jesus!!