Sunday, February 12, 2012
Reaching Beyond Ourselves
But this was not his only obstacle.
By the time David was fourteen, he was an orphan who shuffled between families without ever having a family to call his own. Assaulted with a feeling of hopelessness, every other day for two years David attempted suicide but was never able to accomplish it. Then, at a revival meeting his sister forced him to attend, David accepted Jesus as his Savior and -- along with a new sense of self-respect concerning his physical challenges -- found his life’s calling...
Time and time again, David was told that he could never be used in such a way. His speech impediment was too severe; he did not possess enough control of his limbs. Despite these setbacks and partly because of them, David did not relinquish his calling. In 1973 he began sharing his testimony at various churches and today is a nationally-known speaker who each year speaks with over 100,000 people not only at churches, but conventions, schools, and major corporate events.
This morning, as I sat in the congregation and listened to this man speak, I was awestruck. Honestly, I thought that someone who had been through as much as David Ring would be an inspiration to listen to, but I did not expect to be entertained. His sense of humor was pitch perfect and had the audience laughing to the point of tears. After talking about how cerebral palsy was a blessing because he was the only man in the world with four children who had never changed one diaper, he said that every day he thanked the Lord for giving him cerebral palsy because without it he would not have such a platform on which to speak.
Having learned of Whitney Houston’s passing last night, I realized that her talent had been her downfall, but David Ring’s tragedy had been his triumph. Whitney experienced incalculable wealth and fame in her forty-eight years. She was known for her beauty and for her voice that captured the attention of the world. Despite these achievements, in the end they could not bring her happiness.
David Ring, at fifty-eight, is not a wealthy man. When invited to a church, he does not inquire about the size of the congregation to calculate what the offerings will be. Instead, he goes where he feels led and prays that the Lord will take care of his family’s needs in the process. Due to his physical limitations, David is not very pleasing to look at or to hear. Yet this morning he exuded such joy as he stood up behind that pulpit, waved his limp arms back and forth, and said as a means of encouraging the congregation to do more, “I have cerebral palsy, what’s your problem?”
What was my problem, indeed.
Here was a man whose entire life had been burdened with challenges and still he continued to reach out to others instead of focusing on himself. Because of this perspective, David Ring had found true joy that lasted far longer than any euphoria brought on by wealth, beauty, or fame.
What a challenge. What a challenge to us all.
Who is someone who challenges you to reach out to others instead of focusing on yourself, and how have you risen to that challenge?
To learn more about David Ring, visit http://www.davidring.org/