“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith can even come from hearing your word, your testimony, your witness, your letter containing the Words of God to a friend, relative, or interested party.

I’m reminded of a true story I heard when I was young, about a crippled boy named Tommy who lived in poverty with his aunt in a small third-story apartment of a rundown tenement on a busy city street. Tommy was so severely handicapped that he could do little else besides lie helplessly in bed.

One day Tommy asked a newsboy friend of his to bring him the book about “the Man who went about everywhere doing good.” The boy searched and searched for this unnamed book, until one book dealer finally realized that Tommy must have been talking about the Bible and the story of Jesus. The newsboy scraped together what little money he had, and the kindly bookseller gave him a copy of the New Testament, which he took back to Tom.

The two boys began to read the Gospels together, and after a time Tommy understood the message of salvation it contained. He received Jesus as his Savior and decided that he, too, wanted to do good like the wonderful Man in the book. But Tommy was crippled, and could not even leave his little one-room apartment. So he prayed and asked Jesus to help him, and the Lord gave him an idea.

Tommy began to copy helpful verses from his New Testament onto little pieces of paper, which he would then drop from his window to flutter to the busy street below. Passers-by would see the notes drifting down, pick them up and read them out of curiosity, and there find the words of the Man who went about everywhere doing good — Jesus Christ. Many were helped, encouraged, and comforted, and some were even saved through the simple ministry of this young boy and his New Testament.

One day a wealthy businessman found Jesus through reading the verse in one of Tommy’s little notes. He later returned to the spot where he had found the scrap of paper that had led him to the Lord, hoping to find some clue as to how it got there. Suddenly he noticed another little bit of paper floating down to the sidewalk. He watched as a poor, tired old woman stooped painfully to pick it up, and noticed her countenance brighten as she read it. There seemed to be new strength in her step as she journeyed on.

The businessman, now transfixed to the spot, kept his eyes glued upward, determined to find the source. He had to wait a long time, for it took poor Tommy many painful minutes to scrawl even one verse on one of those pieces of paper. Suddenly the businessman’s eyes were drawn to a certain window where he saw a scrawny arm reach out to drop another piece of paper like the one that had brought a whole new life to him. He carefully noted the location of the window, dashed up the stairs of the tenement, and finally found the humble abode of tiny Tom, the sidewalk missionary.

The businessman and Tom soon became close friends, and the businessman brought Tom all the help and medical attention that he could. Then one day he asked Tom if he would like to come and live with him in his palatial mansion outside the city.

Much to his new friend’s surprise, Tom answered, “I’ll have to ask my Friend about that”-meaning Jesus.

The next day the businessman returned, eagerly seeking Tom’s reply. Instead, Tom asked him some rather surprising questions.

“Where did you say your home is?”

“Oh,” said the businessman, “it’s in the country, on a large and beautiful estate. You’ll have a room all your own, servants to care for you, delicious meals, a good bed, every comfort and attention, anything your heart desires, and my wife and I will love you dearly and care for you as our own son.”

Hesitantly, Tommy queried again. “Are there any people that would pass under my window?”

Surprised and somewhat baffled, the businessman replied, “Why, no, only an occasional servant, and perhaps the gardener. You don’t understand, Tommy, this is a gorgeous country estate, far from the tumult of the city. You’ll have quiet there and be able to rest and read and do whatever else you want, away from all this filth and pollution and noise and the busy throngs.”

After a long and thoughtful silence, Tom’s face looked very sad, for he hated to hurt his newfound friend. Finally he said quietly but firmly, with tears in his eyes, “I’m sorry, but you see, I could never live anywhere where people don’t pass under my window.”

Hearing this story was a turning point in my life. When my mother recounted it to me, I determined then and there, by the grace of God, that I would never live anywhere that I couldn’t reach others with the message of God’s love in Jesus. Having met the Man who went about everywhere doing good, how could I ever live selfishly again? As Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8), and “to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

Are you living where people can pass under the window of your life? Are you ministering to those who do? There are people passing under our windows all the time. Are they going to receive what they need?

Here is the story of someone so weak, so helpless, so isolated, that you might have thought he could never have had any ministry at all. He would seem to have had every excuse for not helping others, but rather expecting to be helped himself — but love found a way!

People pass under the window of your life every day. Has your love found a way to help them? Has Jesus shown you how you can help them? He will if you want to, no matter what the conditions or your limitations.

God has a window too, and He has promised that if you obey Him and open the window of your life to others, He “will open for you the windows of Heaven, and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it ”Malachi 3:10).

Are you caring for others by giving them the sunshine of God’s love through the window of your life? Please don’t fail them. Share God’s love and His Word with others as you “work the works of Him who sent [you] while it is day,” before the night comes, when no man can work (John 9:4), “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If you give of yourself more and share your faith more, God will do more for you than you ever dreamed! But if you selfishly withhold from others, what you have will come to naught. “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:24-25). You can’t out-give God!

David Livingstone, the famous Scottish missionary, physician, and explorer who left the comfort of his own country in order to reach the people of Africa with God’s love and died there in the Lord’s service, once said, “I never made a sacrifice!” He had discovered that God would more than repay every sacrifice. Although he gave his life, he has reaped eternal life and dividends of immortal souls — thousands saved forever!

But it costs something to serve God. King David once declared that he would not give unto the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). You have to give something — you have to open the window of your life. You have to give to get, pour out to receive, sow to reap, invest to profit, die to yourself to live! “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain (John 13:35).

The Story of Tommy, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International