Posted on Sun, Sep 30, 2018
Pastor Bob Norton
Friends and admirers were backed up for almost a block at the beautiful old funeral home. People were standing three deep in line waiting to pay their final respects to a man the whole town had come to love and admire. Some of those who stood in the four-inch-deep snow had never even met him. But he had touched their lives, and they felt compelled to pay tribute to one who had virtually become the father of the whole community. During the long wait, people began to chat. The subject was always “Walter.” “I only met him once,” commented a young woman shivering from the cold, “but he changed my life. You see, I came to this town with my husband and three kids. I hadn’t been here three weeks until my husband took off and left me and the kids alone. Why, I was so scared I thought I’d die. I didn’t have much education and hadn’t planned to work until the kids were older. My neighbor heard about my problem, and she called Walter. He didn’t even come over, but sent word that he had a job I could start the next week and a warm apartment that would be free until I could get on my feet. It was four months before I could even begin to pay rent. “Two years later, I went to him to make arrangements for payments on the back rent, and do you know what he said? He looked over the top of his reading glasses and said, ‘Thank you, but I never intended you to pay for those months. You just go out there and find someone in need, and help them.’ So I did. I went straight to my pastor and asked if he could suggest someone who needed help. And it felt so good to give instead of receive, I just kept on helping them. Walter taught me how good it feels to give.” The man standing behind her smiled and said, “That sounds just like ol’ Walt. I bet that everyone standing in this line has the same kind of story to tell. I knew him for about twenty years, and I’ve gotta say that I’ve never known a more giving man.” An older man, perhaps in his seventies, turned around to face the couple. “I couldn’t help overhearing your story,” he said. “We’ve all got ‘em, that’s for sure. Walt and I went to school together. We were best friends. We even joined the service together, but then we got separated. When the war was over, he didn’t come home right away. I tried to trace him, but just when I was about to give up, he got off the bus one day, still wearing his uniform. He’d been a POW. “He stood up in church one Sunday morning and asked if he could say a few words. The pastor never got to preach, and no one cared. He told what he’d been through, and how he’d come to realize that the only important thing in life was God, his family, and helping other people. From that day on, he lived the way he thought Christ would live, if the Lord had been born rich. He said he knew he could never do it, but he’d like to try to out-give God. He said giving was the best reason for living he’s come across.” Giving is the reason for living. In survey after survey, people say that their primary reason for giving is gratitude to God for the blessings they have received. Christian people, from new-born believers to mature disciples, seem to realize that giving is intrinsic to being a Christian. How about you? Have you discovered the joy of giving? May your life become a beautiful legacy of giving. In other words, together, let’s do something beautiful for God!
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