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When You Do It To One of These

Certain times of the year, we seem to be more mindful of the poor, the “struggling”, and those that are jobless or homeless.  During Christmas, Thanksgiving, and perhaps a publicized food drive, people step forward to give eagerly to do something for others.  Every time that a donor talks about the experience, their face has a big smile and a bright glow about it.  They are not angry that they were asked and able to provide food or clothes for others. Rather, the benefit to the donor seemingly outweighed the joy of the recipient.  We should not be surprised that is true. Scripture tells us that is true….”It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

More and more, we hear of spontaneous acts of kindness done for people that are strangers.  You hear the accounts on the news of a person paying for the fast food order of the car load behind them in line.  Or, the community that comes together to buy a car or house for a wounded veteran and his family.  The person that is the recipient is normally in tears with the overwhelming event that has just occurred.  And, what about all of those present that made the “good deed” happen?  They are beaming and clapping and hugging the grateful person they helped.

Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were 8 children, all probably under the age of 12. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants, and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to a circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be.  The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her.

The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly said, “Please, let me buy 8 children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.” THE TICKET LADY QUOTED THE PRICE. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped and the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, “HOW MUCH DID YOU SAY?” The ticket lady again quoted the price.

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his 8 kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus? Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and dropped it on the ground. (And we were not wealthy in any sense of the word) My father reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “EXCUSE ME, SIR, I BELIEVE THIS FELL OUT OF YOUR POCKET.”

The man knew what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eye, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly, and with quivering lips and a tear streaming down his cheek, replied, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THIS REALLY MEANS A LOT TO ME AND MY FAMILY.”  (Copied).