The Thief

by Joni Eareckson Tada
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
Ephesians 6:7-8
The iron gate clanged behind me. A flood of prison memories washed over me in my wheelchair. I smiled weakly at the guard who looked a little like the uniformed guard at my old state institution where I lived for two years. No, it wasn’t a prison. It was a rehab center. Oh, the irony. Here I was confined by my own set of bars, yet freewheeling. And these men were free to walk, yet confined behind bars.
I had come to cut the ribbon at our Wheels for the World restoration center, where prisoners were refurbishing wheelchairs for our teams to deliver overseas to children and adults with disabilities. The inmates had seen the videos of children shut away in dark huts. Each child was given a new wheelchair worked on by these prisoners. I entered the restoration area and gasped. Everything was immaculate and organized. I flashed a smile at four inmates who stood proudly by their workbenches. “Why are you doing this?” I asked Jose. He fiddled with his wrench. “Because somebody needs help,” he replied, as if the answer were obvious. “It’s good to do something that will help somebody. Like those kids in that video.” It was Ephesians 4:28 in action: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
Perhaps you need fresh resolve to “do something that will help somebody.” In a lonely prison, there are inmates who turn down minimum wage jobs in the prison’s work program to restore wheelchairs for children with disabilities. They are finding new meaning to their lives, “doing something useful” so that they “have something to share with those in need.” What do you have to share?
Lord, You have placed Your tools in my hands. I want to do something useful … to share with someone in need today.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Pearls of Great Price
Copyright © 2006
By Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.
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