(Photo taken at prayer garden at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center)
Edith weighed in at about 85 pounds, and her age probably wasn’t too far below that. She was one of the first energetic seniors I met when I began a two-week volunteer stint at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center*. Upon learning that I had arrived by plane, she eagerly volunteered to take me along whenever she drove into town for needed items. Somehow, she learned my name wrong, and occasionally from behind me, I’d hear her calling, “Hey, Betty”, as she scurried to catch up, checking on me and telling me of excursions she had planned.
As schedules for our volunteer responsibilities varied, I wasn’t always able to take advantage of Edith’s transportation offers, but she didn’t forget about me. One afternoon as I walked down the hall to my room, I could see something on the floor by the door. As I approached, I found a huge, luscious fresh peach lying on a napkin. Later that evening, Edith sidled in next to me at dinner. “Betty, did you find the peach I left for you?” she asked, giving my arm a quick squeeze. She and some other volunteers had taken a trip to a nearby farmer’s market, and since the peaches looked so good, she decided to pick up some for her friends. Later that evening, as the copious sweet juice dripped down my chin, I savored the delicious fruit as well as thoughts of my tenderhearted new friend!
“Then the Lord said to him [Moses], ‘What is that in your hand?’” (Exodus 4:2)
“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was
always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36)
A peach - just one peach - but that simple act showed tender love and a desire to share, to brighten another’s day. Acts of kindness, so easy to do; they don’t have to cost much, nor need they be time-consuming to be valued. Even now, when I bite into a succulent, juicy peach, I recall Edith’s act of Christian caring, and pause to pray that I might have that same desire and willingness to serve others. Perhaps the “seeds” of the gospel can be spread through the seeds of some fresh fruit. “What is that in your hand?”
Related scriptures for further study: Galatians 5:22-25, Romans 12:9-13, Matthew 6:1-4, 2 Peter 1:3-8, Galatians 6:9-10
(*The facility is now known as LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center. It is nestled in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, not far from Asheville, NC. I wrote these devotional thoughts years ago when I first had the opportunity to experience the divine blessing of volunteering at the Center.)
Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain:)