Do you believe happiness is greater when you give than when you receive? Jesus spoke these words as a reminder for His disciples and for us to keep on giving help and hope. “In every way I showed you that by working hard like this we can help those who are weak. We are more happy when we give than when we receive.” Acts 20:35
Happiness seems to be waning in our world today. People search for things to bring happiness to no avail. Every trick and technique in the book teaches the way to happiness is…! The Bible is the Book that truly points people to happiness. Solomon’s Song shares happy scripture.. In the fourth chapter, I find a note in the margin alluding to happiness. “I have long since chosen Him for my only good, my all; my pleasure, my happiness in this world as in the world to come.”
Mark 9:41 chimes in with these words, “For sure, I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name because you belong to Christ will not lose his pay from God.”
Bottles of water have changed the concept of drinking from the cup, the gourd, even the old silver ladles we drank from under the tobacco barn while waiting for the horse and drag to return, but giving water to quinch one’s thirst will never change. When we give even a small bottle of water to someone who is thirsty, blessings will come from Christ who gave living water that forever quinches our thirsty souls.
I experienced happy givers when Sharon and John Stumpf came to Tim’s Gift to give a cup of water. Actually, they came bearing a gift of love that touched heaven and will quinch the thirst of many people who will benefit from her son’s electric wheelchair. Sharing phone conversations and prayers for nearly a year, Sharon and I finally met on the day I was leaving for GAIN – “God’s Anointed In Need’. It was time for my ride to pick me up, so our time to talk was short but oh, so sweet! Sharon, John, and I stood inside Tim’s Gift and shared precious moments. God was making a memory that time will never erase.
The beginning and middle of their love story makes the bravest heart break into pieces. Yet, when Sharon’s smile widens and eyes glow with the light that only comes from the power of the Spirit, you know the climax of their story is coming. This love story proves that happiness comes from giving and believing.
Sharon’s son, Carey Ayers, was diagnosed with a gliobastoma tumor, brain cancer, in 2012, when he was only 20 years old. Cary fought his battle bravely. His family stood firm in faith by his side every day and night. John and I listened as Sharon shared their story in living color. She told of the treatments, long nights, falls, sickness, more treatments, hair loss, and suffering her son endured. Yet, through it all he battled courageously without complaining. Carey touched many peoples’ lives in his lifetime. When he was lifted to heaven in love, Carey received God’s very best healing.
Sharon soon faced another battle that when cancer knocked on the family’s door again in January of 2014. It was Sharon who went to war. She told how doctors found her cancer when her appendix burst, a miracle in itself. Sharon stood tall and thanked God profoundly. She literally bounced in her shoes while sharing news from her doctors that she will be fine. Finding her cancer early and taking every precaution, including chemo treatments here in her hometown, are part of the miracle of healing God is doing in Sharon’s life.
John beamed with joy as Sharon and I buzzed like happy bees. He gave a quick demonstration of Carey’s motorized chair, sharing that he only used it one time. I thought of the ramp that stands proudly behind our home. Church family and friends worked hard building the structure of brotherly love; TIm only used one time before he went to heaven. When a loved one is in need, we give in faith that they will be here forever – though their time may end before the sun sets. Reflecting on John and Sharon’s story while remembering Tim’s and mine, I thanked God for the hope of heaven. For beyond the sunset, there will only be happiness, love, and light! The darkness of sin and suffering from sickness will have no place in paradise.
I thanked the Stumpf family again for their generous donation and promised Carey’s motorized chair would help many people in need. A stirring prompted me to tell Sharon how Tim’s Gift started, how Tim passed away from brain cancer in April of 2007 and I was diagnosed with colon cancer in July. She grabbed my arm and gasped, “What kind of tumor did Tim have’?
When I shared it was a gliobastoma, tears of joy filled her eyes. She recounted how she had prayed for her son’s chair to go to a place where someone had a gliobastoma. She said, “that may sound silly or selfish, but it was special for me to see that happen and I kept praying for that. Look what God did, another miracle. I love Him so much.”
The three of us joined hands and prayed. After happy hugs, we agreed that God blesses joyfully those who open their hearts to give…even when your heart is breaking and you’re trying to put the pieces back together again. Sharon and John understand the journey of suffering and death and the power of His healing and grace. God’s sweet spirit settled in Tim’s Gift with a peace and joy that surpasses anything man can comprehend.
Ending this story with a verse from 1 John seems to be just what the Great Physician orders. “What if a person has enough money to live on and sees his brother in need of food or clothing? If he does not help him, how can the love of God be in him?”
I turned out the lights at Tim’s Gift and stood in silence before our Creator- who gives gifts of salvation and love for free. I thanked God for His healing and prayed that others will see Jesus in me.