Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 23, 2016

The Blessing of Sharing

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 12:00 pm

Most of us have experienced the blessing that comes from giving to others.  Everyone, hopefully, can remember times when your heart was full because of the joy you felt you brought to others. When our sharing is from the heart, there is a feeling that is difficult to describe.  Can you remember some of those occasions?

As a boy and later as a teenager, I recall visiting homes just prior to Christmas and presenting food, clothing, and toys to several families.  I was blessed to be part of a church that sought to provide for those who had difficulty providing for themselves at the Christmas season.    Sometimes it was done very quietly in respect for the families, while on other occasions we entered the home and shared love and entertainment.

I was also blessed to be a part of a family that shared quietly with many in our community.  My parents, operating the family business, knew so many families that had needs at Christmas.  They would provide boxes of items for the families, according to the  needs and ages of the family.  It was often my joy to deliver these boxes to the homes on a schedule where the adults were expecting me.  I would always drive away from those homes with a heart full of  joy.  It was such a blessing and fulfilment in my own life.

I recall an occasion when Judy and I experienced that joy, even though it became a little frightening.  We were traveling from San Angelo, Texas  to Clearwater, Florida to visit our parents.  We had driven further that first day than we intended.  It was late into the night. We were somewhere in Louisiana when we made a stop for gas and some food.  We wanted to find a motel so we could rest to continue our journey the next day.

At this stop we met a young man who had a pressing need.  He needed to get home, but had no funds.  We talked with him for a moment, and although similar encounters happen to us, we felt impressed to give aid. We talked with him and offered to purchase a bus ticket for him.  We had very little money with us, and this pre-dated credit cards.  As we invited the man into our car, a state trooper approached us.  He had watched and listened to our gesture of aid.  He commended us and told us he would lead us to the bus station.

At the bus station, we purchased the ticket, gave a few dollars for food, expressed our love and prayers, and watched him as he  boarded the bus.  As we walked toward the parking lot, we asked the state trooper about a motel.  He responded that it would be difficult to find one at this hour.  There was a biker’s conclave in town and all the motels were full.  He told us, however, that he would make some calls.  He told us to follow him and he would direct us to a motel where we could stay.  This kind trooper watched after us that evening.  Though our hearts were full with the blessing of sharing, Judy and I suddenly realized that after we paid for the motel, we had only a few dollars to get us home.  Gas was a must, and so food would be scarce.  But it did not matter for the blessing we received that evening.

Sometimes the opportunity comes for sharing when we have not planned.  This happened just a few weeks ago as we were traveling.  I cannot even remember the city, but somewhere in Kentucky, we stopped at a motel.  After dinner, we noticed a thrift store in the plaza.  Now Judy and I enjoy visiting every thrift store, Salvation Army, Hospice, and Goodwill store we see.  So for our entertainment that evening, we went to this thrift store.

As we walked around the store, we watch several people and the purchases they were making.  I was standing near the check-out when my attention was drawn to a young couple with two children.  They were purchasing a few clothing items that they definitely needed.  It was obvious that this family struggled financially.  As they waited their turn at the counter, the two children spotted a box of stuffed animals.  They were toy animals that had obviously received an abundance of love from the previous owners.  The children began to hug these stuffed animals and their eyes expressed a delight.  The smile on their face was that question to their parents, “Oh, can we buy these?”

The parents looked at each other and the communication was plain talk.  They could not afford them, yet it was Friday night and they had the desire to make it possible for these children to have these toys.  I watched this scene and something in my heart was moved.  I believe it was a prompting from God to step up and purchase for them the toys as well as the clothing items.  It was such a nominal amount.

I confess to you that an argument ensued within me.  I should do it.  I want to do it.  But will I offend the family?  Will I embarrass a father where it does not look like he can provide for the family? Will I come across as someone rich that is trying to get attention?  That was the conversation within me.  I must tell you that with great regret, to this day, I did not offer to pay that bill!

As we left the store, I told Judy of the experience.  Unknown to me, she had watched and felt the same way.  We both wanted to return to the scene and relive it and do what we felt we should have done.  Even as I write this, Judy and I have talked about our grief from not responding.  Those parents certainly felt the blessing of giving to their children, even out of their own need.  But Judy and I missed the blessing that could have been ours!  I failed to follow the leading of the Spirit of God.  A blessing was missed!

Let me encourage you to be discerning with those feelings you get on occasions when you see a need.  It may very well be a prompting from God.  And if we are not obedient, we miss the great joy and blessing from sharing that God wanted for us.



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