This morning while driving to work I was listening to my favorite morning show. Each day the DJs pose a new question, then field stories from callers. Today's topic: "Have you ever been in a situation where you've unexpectedly left your money at home?" In came the phone calls relaying tales of being at the check-out counter with no wallet or remembering you'd used your last check the day before. But it was the last call I heard that has stuck in my mind all morning.
A woman who worked in a convenient store along the turnpike called to say that she had been on the other end of that situation on more than one occasion. There were numerous times when a customer got up to the counter and realized they had left a wallet at home, or thought they'd had more money on them than they actually did. Naturally, she couldn't "OK" it by funding their purchases with her company's money, so instead, she paid for the expense out of her own pocket.
The remarkable thing was that she had never lost a penny by doing so. Every person she'd helped had repaid her in full. An accompanying "Thank You" was usually included with the repayment; a message of sincere gratitude for an act of kindness going above and beyond. "My rewards," she said, "Have always been greater than the initial sacrifice."
This woman never knew what the response would be from these strangers. Would they pay her back? Or would they take her kindness and run? The point is that as a result of her own goodness, she believed in theirs. And it's been my experience that what you expect of others is usually exactly what you get.
She will probably never know the true consequences resulting from her compassion. It is my guess that her recepients will not soon forget her actions and that they, in turn, will be on the giving end when someone else is in need. Her true gift, afterall, was not the money, but faith in her fellow man.
We have all heard the initials, "WWJD". But bracelets and bumper stickers hold nothing if they're not backed up with action. What would Jesus do? Ask the woman at the convenience store along the Kansas turnpike. It sounds like she has it exactly right.