For the last few days, my mind has been focused on giving. This is nothing new, I think about this quite often and I always try to give more than I receive. However, this is somewhat of a misnomer – as giving is a reward in and of itself. And, most always, when you freely give, you so often receive much more than what you are giving in return.
This past Saturday, our family attended the funeral of a relative out of town. My mother’s last remaining aunt passed away at the age of 99. On the way to the service, we stopped to eat lunch along the way. When we were finishing our meal, an elderly gentleman entered the restaurant alone and seeming somewhat “out of sorts.” He obviously needed help and muttered something about being hungry and not having any money. I went to refill my soft drink cup one last time with helping the gentleman strongly on my mind. When I returned to our table, I noticed that my parents were missing. I looked up and saw them up at the counter buying the gentleman’s meal. Wow!
For the past few days, in relation to what I said above about being focused on giving, I have been wanting to re-print a few excerpts from a column that I ran way back in September of 2013. After what happened this past Saturday on our trip, I figured this would be a great time to do just that!
I originally titled this column “My $45 Lesson…It’s Always Better to Give than to Receive.” And so, here it is. I hope that no one minds the repeat!
Most people that know me say that I am a giving and caring person. That is my personality and also the way that I was raised by my parents. As the Bible says in Matthew 7:12 (NIV), “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Also, Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV), “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” And finally, like the Bible says in so many places, it is better to give than to receive. We all grew up hearing and learning these passages/verses. That is the way that I have always tried to live my life to the best of my abilities…no matter what. It is not about me, but what I can do for others.
Sometimes, this gets me in to trouble in overloading my plate, but the reward is ALWAYS much greater than anything that I have ever gone through or could possibly go through in the process as a result of my efforts.
On Wednesday night (week before last) a little before 6pm, I received a phone call from David Specht, Specht Newspapers owner and President, asking me if I was still at the office. I replied “yes,” and asked what I needed to do to be of assistance. David said that he was at church getting ready for their Wednesday night service and a gentleman had just called the church saying that he was stranded at the Mobil station at I-20 and Airline Drive near the mall. Furthermore, David explained to me that the gentleman was from Monroe and was passing through Bossier City on his way to Canton, TX for the monthly First Monday Trade Days weekend event. The man has a permanent booth to sell his goods in Canton. When passing through Bossier City on his way to Canton, his van began experiencing transmission trouble.
So, I went to meet the gentleman and upon arrival found out that he had already received some help from some friends who were going to loan him their van to use for the weekend. At this point, I realized that there was really nothing for me to do there. So, I talked a little more, handed him my business card and asked him to contact me if there was anything else that I could do…..really never expecting to hear anything from him ever again.
Upon leaving the scene (by this time, well after 7 pm), I met some friends for dinner and arrived home around 10 pm. As I was pulling in to my carport, I was thinking of how tired I was from the many activities of a long day. Just as I turned off the car’s ignition, my cell phone rang. I thought that I recognized the phone number from the Caller ID. Do I just not answer and let it go? For me, no way! It was in fact the same gentleman that I had met a few hours earlier and he asked if I would be willing to trustingly lend him some money so that he could put gas in the borrowed van in order to make it on to Canton. I thought about what to do for a split second and then arranged a meeting spot. I put $45 worth of gas in the vehicle and wished him luck on both his journey and booth sales over the weekend. As we were parting, we arranged for a meeting spot for him to pay me back the borrowed amount as he was passing back through on his way home Sunday evening. I figured that I would never see that $45 ever again but my, was I ever wrong?
Sure enough, As the story turns out, my cell phone did in fact ring just a little 6 pm on Sunday evening. The gentleman on the phone said something like “I said I would call and here I am.” Let’s confirm our meeting location so that I can give you your money back? My feel good meter peaked at 1,000…bounced back to 500 on the rebound…and then broke my meter gauge by going over 1,000%!! It is always better to give than to receive!
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org