We all stand on someone else’s shoulders. I remember the first time I heard that statement and I honestly didn’t understand it. I remember a familiar story of a man who runs into a rather strange sight and the circumstances creates some angst as he tries to figure out the cause and effect of his discovery. Out in the middle of nowhere, he finds a turtle sitting on the top of a fence. Ok we all know turtles can’t climb fences or walls so how did that turtle get up there? After thinking through, imagining different scenarios—he finally comes to a profound conclusion. Turtles can’t get to the top of a fence on their own. Someone helped him get there. And that turtle reminds us, we all stand on someone else’s shoulders.
Someone invested. Someone taught. Someone inspired you and you are where you are at in life because of the influence, the training, the coaching of others – in your life. There are many who believe they are self-made and that any ounce of success or achievement has come through personal brilliance and hard work. Those attributes are a nice addition in anyone’s life. But turtles don’t find themselves sitting on top of a fence on their own. Someone helped them to get there. The trick or maybe better said, real wisdom comes when said ‘turtle’ realizes where he’d be without a helping hand in his life and reciprocates the aid in his life with gratitude and action.
When I was pastoring in Colorado Springs. We had a guy in our church that trained soldiers in Fort Carson. Periodically, he’d ask me if there was some projects ‘his’ soldiers could do around the church. I’d find projects and on a Saturday afternoon, soldiers from Carson would be working around our church. One Saturday I came by to check on the ‘team’ and asked my friend why he required soldiers he was training to do ‘service projects’ for others. He smiled and without hesitation told me, “All of us have had someone take time, sacrifice some part of their lives, helped us grow so that we are able to live our lives, complete our jobs and have the option for success in our lives. It’s time for us to give back and not hoard the opportunities we have been given, but give back so someone else can flourish through our experiences. I’m teaching these young soldiers to give back!”
No matter what place you are in life, his counsel is great! Everyone should not only learn how but practice a life time of ‘giving back’ to others. Shovel your neighbors walk, pick up some trash, feed those less fortunate, get on your knees and look a child in the eye as they tell you a story from their lives. Give back!
That’s why Trinity feeds the homeless—every—single—week! God has done so many amazing things in the life of our ministry. He’s built a building in the heart of Aurora. He’s brought countless people over the years to love, give and sacrifice for his glory. We have all benefitted from past followers of Christ who sacrificed, prayed, gave, worked so that Trinity would be a ministry that honored and glorified God. And so . . . Loving God . . . Serving Others is our way to give back.
In a few short weeks, our church has the privilege to touch lives in Puerto Rico. La Perla is a rough part of the down town area just outside old San Juan. The church is new, doesn’t have the finances to fix things that are broken and is ministering to the poor and needy in old San Juan. Giving back is our mission. Giving hope is our dream. Helping Pastor Ivan will be our way to lift a struggling church, trying to love and care for the poor, and placing them on the fence so that they too can touch the lives around them. We become the shoulders that Pastor Ivan will be able to stand on to give him courage, hope and provide a place for the Word of God to be proclaimed. What a privilege to serve the Lord in places he calls us to serve!
Giving back may not be the bumper sticker you have displayed on the back of your car. It might not be part of your everyday vernacular but it could be. I think it should be especially if you are wise and will take some time to retrace your own steps. Someone took the time to encourage you. Someone paid for a meal, gave your babies some Huggies, wrote a letter of encouragement or spoke words that brought hope. It’s time you put into practice the art of giving back. In big ways and small ways you can take what God has used in your life and ‘give back’ to others who need someone, anyone to help them. You, yes YOU, can teach a class, paint a wall, encourage the lonely, hold the broken, dream and implement GREAT dreams. Remember, we ALL stand on someone else’s shoulders. Give back and watch what God will do!