Reaching out

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald
So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." (Luke 3:10-11)

Sometimes there are stories that are truly newsworthy and in yesterdays news there was one of those stories.  Sadly it is a sad story but the man involved deserves to be remember for all the people he helped. We don't live in a society where people are willing to help others, however Don Ritchie didn't help just one person, he helped many many people over the years. He didn't do it for the glory or fame, he did it because he believed it was right.

SYDNEY has lost a guardian angel. Don Ritchie, the man credited with preventing hundreds of suicides through his vigil at The Gap over more than four decades, died on Sunday. He was about to turn 87. From his home high up on Old South Head Road, Mr Ritchie would keep watch and intervene whenever he saw a distressed person at the cliff's edge in Gap Park, a notorious suicide spot near Watsons Bay. He would start a conversation with the person, invite them back to his house for a cup of tea (or something stronger) and on occasions physically intervene to prevent them jumping. Although the official tally of lives saved by Mr Ritchie and his wife Moya is 160, family members say the couple has probably prevented hundreds more from jumping to their deaths since 1964, when they bought their home overlooking Gap Park. (source)

What a different world it would be if we had more Don Ritchies, reaching out and helping others.  Not judging them, not questioning them, but offering a cup of tea, a smile and a willing ear to listen. We are far too quick to judge others, especially those who are different to us, we should be extending our hand to those in need. Many people are crying out for help and too many of us are far too busy rushing about within our own little worlds to even notice.

''You can't just sit there and watch them,'' Mr Ritchie said in a 2010 interview. ''You gotta try and save them. It's pretty simple.''

How true . . . we should not sit by or walk by someone in need.  Jesus certainly didn't.  He reached and helped many in need and He wants us to do the same.

''Always remember the power of the simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear and a kind word,'' he said.

What a unique and special man Mr Don Ritchie was and the community is all the poor for his passing.  I don't know if Mr Ritchie was a Christian man, but he certainly behaved like one.

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
 Philippians 2:4


  1. I too am in awe of this man and his wife and as someone who has lost a brother to suicide myself I am so grateful for people like him. I sure wish someone had been around to distact my brother from his thoughts many years ago. If only we could follow this mans example, or show a little more of Chists love and sympathy to others how much better this world would be.
    blessings to you. NEll

  2. Nell, with so many people attempting suicide and the rate of suicide so high for our younger males, we need people like this man. Sadly, people don't want to "get involved" - so they walk on. I do hope Mr Ritchie can be remembered in some way for all the good that he has done. There must be many families so thankful for his kindness.

  3. I have lost a cousin to suicide and wish someone had been around to help him ~ I agree with Nell - if only we could follow this mans example and reach out and reflect Christ more! Have a blessed week ~

  4. What a great man that this world has lost. The hundreds that were saved will hopefully become thousands who can further make a difference in this world - all because of the act of one man.

  5. How true Kaye - if each one those this man helped helped just one other and they help another person - just imagine the number of people helping each other. It would be remarkable.

  6. Oh wow! He was a truly amazing man! He certainly did what Jesus asked us to do! You are so right, we should always have time in our lives for others and not be so busy that we don't have time to listen and care. Great post Jo!

  7. That is amazing... It would take a lot of courage to do something like that - courage that not many of us have. I wonder if he was a Christian - if not, what a shame that more Christians don't do this as well!


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