August 16

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” —Galatians 5:14

Philadelphia firefighter Fran Cheney’s unit was called to a house fire. As they rolled up, a brother was out front saying his sister was still in the house.

Fran rushed in and began to search the home. He heard screaming and found Mary Jackson on the second floor.

“I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe, nothing,” said Mary.

Fran said Mary was “just smoky, heaving, trying to catch her breath. I mean it was just, you could hear it, she was in distress. I took a quick breath, ripped my helmet off, gave her the mask—it’s on positive pressure, which means it just blows smoke away from her—and I just say, ‘Let’s go.’”

Fran carried her down the stairs and outside to safety, risking his own life.

Questioned about breaking procedure by taking his mask off, Fran responded, “If I was worried about that, I wouldn’t be here, and neither would any of these guys that I work with. That’s what we do. That’s who we are.”

And if saving a life wasn’t enough, Fran donated his overtime pay of $500 to Mary and her family to help them get back on their feet.

“I’ve realized how special they are for us, for everyone,” Mary said. “He went out of his way to save me.”

Giving can become who you are. Whether giving of your time, energy, money, or even the risk of death to save—seeing, hearing, and feeling that your life changed someone else’s brings a feeling like no other. It’s the feeling of knowing why you’ve been put on this Earth.

DEAR GOD, when I give sacrificially, I know I am showing Your character. May I grow in giving, in every way, to become more and more like You.