Ordinary Heroes: The Least of These
by Marilynn Chadwick Barbara was one of the most inspiring real-life heroes I’ve ever known. This vibrant woman with a giant heart and an easy laugh was also a courageous spiritual warrior. She became a long-time friend and mentor. And she opened my eyes to the impact one woman can have on her family and community. Years earlier, Barbara’s husband had been murdered in a drive-by shooting while walking home from work, leaving her with three small children. She fled to a safer neighborhood to raise her children. “But I began to hear the Lord’s voice,” she shared. “He told me to go back to the old neighborhood and rescue the children.” She sensed God calling her through these words: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV). “When crack cocaine got our mommas,” she explained to me, “the babies were at the mercy of every kind of evil.” To Barbara, all children were “babies.” It was those children that Barbara was going back to rescue. She found a dilapidated house and turned it into a mission home. “I gave the little ones baths and helped the older ones with homework. I fed them, too, since they were always hungry,” she said with a smile. Weekly, she held church services for her neighbors. Years later, a former hit man told Barbara that he had been hired by a drug dealer to kill her—she was hurting the drug business. He would sit outside the open window listening to her preach the gospel. But something would not let him carry out the murder. Later, Barbara told me, this very same man accepted Jesus. Barbara transformed a dangerous neighborhood into a place of hope. Charlotte city officials even renamed her street “Peaceful Way.” God sometimes brings hope to others through your broken places. Like Barbara, you may discover you find your life as you give it away. “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10 ESV).