Eddie spontaneously shouts out across the workroom floor “I’m doin’ the best I can with what I’ve got.” Carl responds with “You’ve got a lot!” Eddie shouts back “Thank you!”
We all have a lot; a lot of material wealth in comparison to some people in the more impoverished places on Earth. Most of the monetary wealth in the world is concentrated within a very small percentage of the global population. Not my percentage. However, the kind of wealth I possess – clean water, safe shelter, adequate food, clothing, personal transportation, discretionary income – is enjoyed by a relative few as well. It’s said that if you have adequate food, shelter and clothing, you are richer than 75% percent of the people in the world. I’m thankful for being in the fortunate 25%. Thankfulness and appreciation for our blessings is something I’ve always tried to teach our children. Sometimes life gives me a little help with that lesson.
When our sons were in the elementary grades, we used to go to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh at least a couple of times a year. On one of our last trips, we spent literally all our money in the Center and left the parking garage headed for home instead of going downtown for treats. As we waited in line to merge onto the highway, we saw a man standing at the top of the on-ramp going from car to car asking for something. We didn’t even have any change in the ashtray. I prepared to just politely dismiss his request and drive on.
The man came up to my open window and surprised me with his request. He looked parched (a hot summer day) and his voice was hoarse. Listening to his accent and looking at his manner of dress, he struck me as possibly being an African Immigrant. He asked “Do you have any water sir?” His request confused me for a moment. Did he just ask for water? I always carry water in the van in case of engine overheating or emergencies, but I never thought of this. I blinked and said “Yes. I can give you water.”
The boys reached into the back and retrieved the gallon jug. We had parked in an underground garage and the water was quite cold. They passed the jug to me and I handed the gallon of cold spring water out the window to this man. We all watched as he stared in disbelief at the jug. The man reached in the window and hugged me around the neck and then began to leap in the air while holding the jug over his head shouting “Thank you, thank you, praise God!” over, and over again. He was smiling and holding out the jug to show all the passing cars as we drove away.
I guess God doesn’t ask us to give what we don’t have, but only asks us to bless others by generously sharing what He has provided for us. I never thought a gallon of water in the back of our van was a big deal. Giving something that cost me only fifty cents didn’t make feel particularly generous. I just didn’t have that much to give, but in that man’s perspective, it was a lot. Have you got a lot?
© 2017 Curt Savage Media