Don Ritchie put his pants on one day at time just like you…and just like me. Everyday for over thirty years he woke up and looked out the window. What made him different was what he noticed. Across the street was Australia’s most notorious suicide point called, “The Gap.” High above the ocean floor, the drop off is a cliff hundreds of feet above the water. One step off the landing is a definite plunge to death. Hearing and seeing the problem firsthand, Don Ritchie did what you would think any other human being would. A war veteran, Richie simply reached out to another human being. Something he had done as a soldier with his platoon countless of times before. Stepping from his front door to the cliff was any easy journey. Trying to convince someone not to jump was the harder part. So, he would simply start a conversation and eventually invite them back to his kitchen for a cup of tea. A simple thing to do for what seems like a complex situation. Richie learned though that all most human beings want is to feel like they matter to another.
Your life matters. So much so, that God would send his son to die for your sins. Jesus was trying to get that across to his disciples in John 8 when he took off the jacket of his three piece suit and got down on his knees to wash their feet. He was trying to teach them humility as a priority in being a human being. He was trying to inspire them that, if they could just in turn wash the feet of the world, they could inspire others as well. Inspiring others that life isn’t as much about success as it is significance. It’s not about making a living but making a life. It’s not about fame or acclaim but contribution. It’s not about getting served but serving. It’s not about ‘What can I get from life?’ but ‘What can I give?’
Who doesn’t like to be served? My mom always told me I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth but that didn’t keep me from any wish I had. Power, success, fame and fortune…all the things the American dream teaches us. These things are not always bad, but when they become what we are living for, it becomes our filter when we look out life’s window. It’s a ‘What’s in it for me?’ attitude that disables our inability to care at times and blur the ‘why’ we are called to serve.
“One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smiles begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One laugh will conquer gloom
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what’s true
One life can make a difference…
That difference starts with you.”
Don Richie probably wondered the same thing a time or two. But you serve enough cups a tea over 3o years and the Australian government may honor you for literally saving the physicality of over 200 people. Yes, you read that right. Don Richie is responsible for saving 200 lives. If you talk to his children, they will tell you it was more like 400. He couldn’t save everyone, but that didn’t bother Don. What he focused on is what he could do.
If not you, then who?
Who will fill the shoeboxes for the children? Or be willing to fight suicide prevention? Who will love on the woman who has had an abortion? Or be a father to the boy that was molested? Who will make a foster home for the kid that keeps getting rejected? Or give a bottle of water to the homeless man who keeps begging for money? Who will smile genuinely at the Wal-Mart Clerk or hold the door open for man in the wheelchair? Who will visit the older generation with dementia? Change the diapers for the single mom who puts her child in the nursery? Who will write the song for the hopeless? Invite over the widow? Who will?
We will. Because Christ has led the way for us and a true follower is a follower.
Mark Rempel/Christ Follower/Son/Husband/Father/29:11 Pastor
You can see a short bio on Don by following this link: