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The Scottish novelist and physician, Archibald Joseph Cronin, has often told the story of a district nurse that he had once worked with when he had practiced as a doctor. There were days when he, himself, was exhausted as he cared dutifully for his patients, but he found great inspiration from this woman who had 'set him straight' during a single conversation.
"I marveled at her patience, her fortitude, and her cheerfulness," he said. "She was never too tired at night to rise for an urgent call. Her salary was too low, and late one night, after a particularly strenuous day, I ventured to ask her, 'Nurse, why don't you make them pay you more? God knows you're worth it.'"
Her response stunned him.
"If God knows I'm worth it," she answered, "that's all that matters to me."
These words would remain floating in the doctor's mind for the rest of his life. For twenty years, the woman had worked hard serving a 10-mile district, completely by herself, yet had never complained. Instead, she had offered her job as her service to her God whom she loved.
I would imagine that she never once dreamed that her conversation with Cronin would be eventually be penned to be handed down through the ages as an inspiration to future humanity. But true love and sacrifice never stop with a single act. Because God's love flows through them, their effects continue to spread like ripples on a pond.
The story of the district nurse is a perfect reflection during the Advent and Christmas seasons. It reminds us that all that we do - our work and our play - should be offered as a gift to the One Who gave us the greatest gift the world has ever known - Himself. And although every effort on our part will always pale in comparison, we need to remember that each effort reveals an extension of His great gift, allowing it to be furthered to the ends of the earth.
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