|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.