1 Thessalonians 5:11 (New International Version)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Don Bennett was on top of the world. He was wealthier than most of us will ever imagine. He owned a ranch, a ski chalet and an eight-bedroom waterfront home on Seattle’s Mercer Island. And then everything changed. On a beautiful sunny day in August of 1972, Don was boating with his children when he fell overboard and the propeller of the boat ran over both of his legs. He nearly bled to death but managed to survive. His left leg took 480 stitches to close. His right leg was gone completely above the knee.
To make matters even worse, while he was in the hospital recovering, his business fell to pieces. Don felt like he had lost everything – except his determination. Amazingly, Don taught himself to ski again. Eventually, he would teach other amputees to ski on one leg. He started another business, Video Training Center, which listed such clients as Boeing and Weyerhauser. He started kayaking, and it was then that he began to dream of climbing mountains again.
Don had climbed Mt. Rainer in 1970. He decided to do it again, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone. He hopped five miles a day on his crutches. With a team of four others, he made it within 400 feet from the top before they were forced off by whiteout conditions and screaming winds. Four months later, he was training again with his team captain. They trained together for another year before returning to the mountain. He climbed for five days, 14 hours a day, sometimes hopping, sometimes crawling up the incline on one leg, and on July 15, 1982, Don Bennet touched the summit at 14,410 feet. He was the first amputee to climb Mt. Rainer.
When asked about the most important lesson he learned during the entire ordeal, his response was simple: “You can’t do it on your own.” He described how during one very difficult trek across an ice field his daughter stayed at his side and with each hop told him, “You can do it, Dad. You’re the best dad in the world. You can do it, Dad.” He told his interviewers that there was no way he would quit hopping to the top with his daughter yelling words of love and encouragement in his ear.
You can’t do it alone. That makes a lot of sense! Few, if any, truly outstanding accomplishments can be achieved alone. That’s a fact that most of us are aware of. But what is not immediately obvious is that not just anyone can help. Don Bennett did not recruit his helpers in a nursing home. He built a team of people who wanted to climb a 14,410-foot peak and, perhaps more importantly, who could climb a 14,410-foot peak. One who attempts mighty feats had better be capable of recruiting a mighty team of willing and able participants.
Dear Lord we pray that today we would be there to help somebody today. We thank You that You are there for us and we pray that we would be there for others. IN Jesus’ name, Amen.