May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. (1 Thess. 3:12)

RICK HAS A SEVERE CASE of cerebral palsy, resulting from oxygen deprivation during birth. At fifteen, he asked to participate in a five-mile fund-raiser run to help an injured classmate. Since Rick cannot walk, his father, Dick, began training to run the five miles while pushing Rick in his wheelchair. When Rick said he didn’t feel disabled during the run, his father determined that he should enjoy that feeling often.

Over the next thirty-seven years, Dick pushed, pedaled, and towed his 110-pound son in more than 1,100 races, including 72 marathons and 212 triathlons. They also ran and biked across the United States in 1992, finishing the 3,735 miles in 45 days. The 2014 Boston Marathon marked their last race together. Dick, at age 74, needed to retire from racing, but Rick, at only 53, didn’t, so a younger runner volunteered to be his new teammate.

The apostle Paul described a tender, gentle relationship between his ministry team and the church at Thessalonica. Their care for the people was like that of parents for their cherished children. Their love knew no limits, was patient with weakness, and understood the abilities and limitations of the new believers. Paul’s hope for them was that God would develop in them that same kind of gentle and sacrificial love for each other, and for the unsaved. Oh, that God may do that in us!

Disciples aren’t made overnight; ask God to help you be more patient with other believers.

Neil S. Bowers lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and four children. A state correctional officer, he enjoys poetry and wood carving.