An Unexpected Surprise

Ok, so the title is slightly misleading.

A couple of days ago my friend, Sharon, called to let me know she and her husband, Vince, were sending us a package.

Today it arrived.

When we pulled out the box inside the shipping box, our eyes widened.

Paul: “No way!”
Me: “That’s not what is actually inside the box.”
Paul: “I bet it is.”
Me: “No, no it’s not. It’s probably the only box she could find.”

As Paul began to open up the box, I fully expected to see our favorite candy, a movie, maybe a book or two.

I was wrong.

And it pains me not at all to say that Paul was right.

Their gift rendered us speechless, and it also brought forth many tears. It was a huge thing for them to give us.

It got me to thinking today about who they are and what they have meant to us over the years.

You may have heard me talk about them or read about them on the blog. I talked about Vince and Sharon Rice a fair amount. Why wouldn’t I? They have shaped so much of how I think, what I do, and why I do it.

Vince and Sharon have taught me how to give generously. They themselves are generous to a fault, if that is possible. It is not something they do, but part of who they are. Our gift is but a small drop in the bucket of their generosity to others.

Vince and Sharon have taught me over the years how to move forward in my relationship with Jesus. Whether it is learning how to spend quiet, sweet time with Christ or stopping the busyness of my life to focus on what it important, they have helped me mature into a closer, more in love with Jesus disciple.

Vince and Sharon are disciples in every sense of the word. They are 100% in love with Jesus, and they follow Him with everything in them. That is contagious. They have multiplied their small group numerous times, and each of them is filled with people who have been influenced by how Vince and Sharon live daily for Christ. Their legacy is one that will live on far after they see Jesus’ face.

Vince and Sharon love people. They go around the world to help people, love people, take care of people, care for people, mourn with people, share hope with people. They do the same at home. They are the hands and feet to the world around them, to their sphere of influence. This is something they taught me. Who is in my sphere of influence and am I being Christ to them? It changed my way of thinking and how I live my life.

Vince and Sharon serve others. They give of their time, their money, their energy, their home…everything. A great example of this occurred when I was going through the deep darkness that was my morning sickness with Lily while living in Naples. My mom could not come over until the summer. Paul called Sharon and Vince to ask if Sharon could come over. She would have to pay for her own ticket. She would have to find someone to cover her responsibilities at church. She would have to travel alone. She came. She read the bible to me because it made the nausea worse if I read myself. She cooked for Paul. She cleaned the apartment. She held my hand. She served us, as did Vince by giving up time with his wife so she could be with us in during a really difficult time.

Vince and Sharon are humble. I imagine when they read this Sharon will shake her head and say something like, “We don’t deserve all those things to be said about us. We’re just being obedient.” I imagine her saying it because I have heard her say it. That’s the way they view everything they do. They are being obedient. It is nothing great about them, but Christ through them. They will tell you they struggle, sometimes with the same issues over and over. They are honest about their lives, never putting on “airs” or pretending that everything is ok. They are so very honest, and have taught me how to live an honest, authentic life.

We met Vince and Sharon at 121 Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas. They were our door greeters and wrote our names on a name tag. They later became our small group leaders. From there they became our friends, our mentors, our disciplers, our encouragers, our shoulders to lean on, our discipliners. All we did was walk through a door of a church one day.

What an unexpected surprise.

Thankful for friends who are family,

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