A 1962 Hudson

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. James 2:14-18 (NRSV)

Buford was a fifteen-year-old who lived deep in the backwoods of Handshoe, Kentucky. He suffered from an external brain tumor that parted his scalp and extended partially over his right eye, causing blindness. Richard Benson was his teacher, in a one-room schoolhouse.

Once a month his father, John, would make the long trip to Prestonsburg to buy the medicine that kept Buford alive. He'd awaken long before dawn, walk the steep creek bed, and continue down the dirt road until he reached the highway to catch the local Greyhound bus. The errand took all day.

When the school year ended, Richard thought of his 1962 Hudson. He had had visions of his car growing old with him until he thought about Buford. He then knew what he wanted to do. He gave his car keys to the father and said, "It's yours; buy Buford medicine."

As Luke's Gospel reminds us, "Give, and it will be given to you....For the measure you give will be the measure you get back" (6:38). All that we have belongs to the Lord. Whether it's an automobile, a coin tossed into a cup, a love offering placed in the collection plate, we all have something that we can share with others.

Prayer: Guide us, Lord, to your service. May we reach toward the "least of these" with grace-filled arms of love, in Jesus' name, amen.

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