Hannah Hopefield opened her eyes and stared dully at the expensive clock next to her bed. 11 am. She turned over and groaned. She had a pounding headache and her eyes felt gritty. Her mouth had the sour taste of drinking too much wine the night before. Too much to drink, too many cigarettes and who knows what else had gone down at the party last night. The party she attended so she could forget the aching, suffocating emptiness that twisted and writhed within her soul.
She sighed and turned over. What could she do today to fill the void? Buy a new watch? What for? She had ten already, each one more expensive than the last. A diamond studded bracelet perhaps? Would that make her feel any better? She doubted it. Her glittering, opulent life, envied by so many, no longer held any appeal.
“Why?” she cried out in desperation to the silent room. “Why do I feel so depressed? What will it take for me to feel that my life has some meaning? Some purpose?? I have everything that money can buy. Everything I want!” She looked around the expensively decorated room with distaste. “Things!! Just things!! It’s all so meaningless!” She buried her head in her pillow and sobbed bitterly.
“Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal.” (Matt 6:19)KJV
Hannah looked up in surprise. Was it her imagination or had someone actually said that?
“Lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt 6:20)KJV
There it was again. It was not her imagination. She had heard it.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. (Matt 6:21)KJV
She sat very still and listened carefully. Was there more?
“The good man, out of his good treasure, brings forth good things: and the evil man, out of his evil treasure, brings forth evil things.” (Matt 12:35)KJV
“What?” she whispered. “What are You saying to me?”
But she knew what God was saying. Change – or die.
Hannah Hopefield shielded her eyes from the harsh glare of the African sun and stared at the simple single-storey building. Hopefield Mission Hospital. Founded by Samuel J. Hopefield, her grandfather. It was now used as a centre to provide care for the exploding HIV Positive population. Emaciated, skeletal people filled the rooms to overflowing, spilling out onto the wide, covered veranda. Human suffering on an unimaginable scale. And in this place of desperation and anguish stood Hannah Hopefield, heiress to the Hopefield millions.
A nun clad in flowing white robes came to meet her. “Miss Hopefield, my child!” Her eyes were filled with the greatest love and compassion that Hannah had ever seen. “Welcome to Hopefield Mission. How wonderful to have you with us. I knew your grandfather, you know.” She sighed. “A wonderful man, God rest his soul. But come. You must be weary after such a long journey and the African heat can be somewhat debilitating for those who are not used to it. Let me show you to your room.”
“Excuse me, Sister……..?”
“Sister Katerina, my dear.” The old nun smiled at her kindly.
“Sister Katerina, I am really not tired at all. And I would like to see the patients as soon as possible. I have heard that there are children…… babies afflicted with this terrible disease. Could I see the babies first please?”
Sister Katerina led Hannah into a room lined with small cots. She stopped beside the first one. “This is Sammy-J.” said Sister Katerina softly. “He is just six months old. His mother died shortly after he was born. We named him after your grandfather.”
Hannah gazed silently into the soft, chocolate brown eyes. Eyes which had known far too much suffering for one so young.
Gently, she lifted his frail little body and held him close. His parched spirit seemed to be drinking thirstily of the unaccustomed love. As her love flowed into the little child, so Hannah’s spirit seemed to come alive and bloom like a flower in the warmth of the sunlight.
“Sammy-J,” she whispered. “It is for little ones such as you that God wants me to use my money. To make your precious lives a little easier – a little more comfortable.
And a voice whispered softly into her soul. “Out of good treasure comes forth good things.”
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