Posted tagged ‘giving’

The Blessing of Pecan Pie

December 10, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                December 10, 2014

                                          

A wonderful lady in our church named Wilma, just a shy short of being eighty, blessed me in a delicious way last Sunday. Wilma had baked a pecan pie and decided that I should have it.

Now you need to understand that pecan pie is my favorite! Capped off with a scoop of Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream, it is a slice of pie heaven…if there is pie in heaven!

That night the “young guys” group that I lead were descending upon our house, so the food choice was settled. Pecan pie and ice cream for everyone!

I wasn’t expecting to receive a freshly baked pie that day, but some of the greatest blessings of God come at unexpected times. The even better news is that I still have two slices left after Sunday night, and Carol doesn’t care for pecan pie (What is wrong with her?), so I’m set for another couple of nights of lip smacking delight.

I don’t know if Wilma thought I was starting to look a little lean in the mid-section or what. I didn’t ask her for an explanation as to how I was the winner. Paul said that Jesus had once made the statement that “It was more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) I’m willing, however, to be the receiver to allow someone else to experience the gift of giving.

Wilma is a woman of God who has had a life of mountains and valleys, but God gave her the gift of baking. Her cinnamon rolls are craved. If she bakes anything to bring to a church fellowship function the baked goods are snatched up in a way that only hungry Baptists can achieve.

A simple pecan pie.

An unexpected blessing.

It makes me ponder how often I’ve been the giver of an unexpected blessing. My selfish nature says I’m always willing to have something surprise me, but how often do I look to give a surprise blessing?

Christmas has that underneath message of giving. It’s more than bartering for the best deal. It’s going a little further in helping someone else.

And…listen! It doesn’t have to be a pecan pie!

If you want to bake a cake or make some cookies, I’m open for them as well!

Just kidding…kinda!

Misunderstood Generosity

December 1, 2014

 

When Jerry opened the Christmas present that was from his mom and dad he was a little confused and perturbed.

He had graduated from college the previous May and had been fortunate to find a teaching position at a middle school in a rural school district about an hour away from the town he grew up in. It didn’t pay much, but he loved it. He loved seeing young minds suddenly understanding the mathematical methods that he taught.

He was thankful that he was able to be home with family for Christmas. His brother Silas, and twin sisters, Abby and Gail, were there also. Jerry was the youngest, but the only one who still lived in-state.

The box he had opened could have fit in his pocket. He reached into it and pulled out a key chain. He admitted later on that his first thought was “That’s all! A key chain!”

His siblings then each opened a present, and Jerry sat and battled with the conflicted feelings of anger and gratitude. Then his father said, “Oh Jerry! We forgot. You probably would like some keys to put on your key chain. Here’s one to get you started.”

His father reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny key and handed it to Jerry. It had an “H” letter on the end of it. “H” for Honda.

“Merry Christmas! It’s parked in the garage.”

Jerry was speechless. He walked out into the garage to see a brand new Honda Civic. The box with the key chain had only been the beginning part of the story.

How often do we become confused by the generosity of God because we only have the first part of the story?

Zechariah was confused by God’s promise that he was to have a son. In Luke 1:7 we read that he and Elizabeth “…had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.”

Zechariah was on priestly duty in the temple to burn incense when an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that Elizabeth was going to have a son and he was to be named John. Zechariah questions this proclamation and is literally rendered speechless.

Zechariah didn’t see the whole picture. Sometimes God’s greatest gifts to our lives aren’t understood until later. Zechariah sees a wife who is past childbearing years. God gives a child who will go before his Son and proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

David’s brothers saw a boy who should have stayed home and been watching the sheep. God gave a courageous leader who would slay a giant.

Sometimes we only see a key chain and God is about to give a key. God is generous in the present and also in the future.

 

The Grinch at Starbucks

December 26, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   December 25, 2013

The elderly gentleman arrived at the entry door of Starbucks just ahead of a forty-something man with a serious look on his face and a cell phone attached to his ear. The senior opened the door and invited the other visitor to enter ahead of him. He did and gave his doorman a half-nod.

This was the second visit to the store that morning for the wiser of the two. The second cup of coffee was free for him, so he had taken a morning drive as he sipped on the first cup and then stopped back on his way home. His wife knew his routine, and knew how long it took him to drink twenty-four ounces of the dark roast.

The forty-something hadn’t changed out of his flannel pants, presumably the ones he had worn to bed the night before. He stepped up to the counter and gave no reply to the barista who greeted him.

Harry, the elderly gent, took his time moving from the entrance to his place in line behind the man. He stood there with his coffee cup in hand patiently waiting. The man in the flannel pants in front of him began giving his order…”Latte with skim milk…three shot mocha cappuccino…vanilla latte skim extra shot…americano…medium roast coffee…caramel macciato…three sausage breakfast sandwiches…and a pumpkin spice latte skim.”

     “What size on those drinks, sir?”

      The customer looked perturbed to even have the question be asked. “All talls!”

       “Yes, sir! That will be $31.55.”

       “$31.55! Good Lord! Are you sure about that?”

      The young woman with the patience of Job printed out a copy of the bill. “Yes, sir! Here’s the breakdown on each purchase.”

      The agitated mid-life crisis grabbed it and scanned the figures.

“Cash or credit, sir?”

      “Credit!” bellowed her challenger. The wallet was whipped out of his back pocket to show his disgust. He peered into the pockets of the fake leather, hesitated, and then searched again more frantically.

       “Is there a problem, sir?”

       “I’m missing my credit card,” replied the embarrassed adversary. “I must have pulled it out of my wallet at home and…”

       “Allow me to take care of it, my friend.” The voice of the elderly gentleman was friendly and understanding. “Amanda, would you put this gentleman’s purchases on my bill?”

       “I can’t let you do that. I don’t even know you,” said the man.

“No, but Amanda here does, and she knows that I’m going to get a refill on the dark roast before I even order, and leave me a little room for cream. Isn’t that right, Amanda?”

      “That’s right, Wally.”

      “Sir, I don’t know if…”

      “Let me ask you something, friend. I take it that you aren’t going to drink all of those lattes and drinks, and eat all of those breakfast sandwiches yourself. And I’m guessing that since you are wearing those flannel pants that you are returning home to a place where a few other people close to you are waiting to get caffeinated. This is just my opinion, but I would say it would be better for you to accept my gift here than to disappoint a houseful of people there.”

       The man glanced back and forth for a few moments pondering his dilemma, and then said, “Okay!”

       “Each one of us has found ourselves in awkward situations such as this. It is at those times that I pray that God would put someone behind me to pick me up from my mistake and let me know it will be okay. Perhaps some day soon you’ll be that person

next in line.”

        The man nodded with a look of partial appreciation and he slowly moved down a few feet to the counter where his drinks and food would appear. A few minutes later, with drink carrier and bag in hand, he stepped towards the door to depart. As he opened the door he hesitated and then looked back at his Starbucks savior.

“Wally…thank you!”

         Wally’s wrinkled face broke into a warm smile. He raised his coffee cup to the man and nodded “You’re welcome.”

Thanksgiving, Move Over!

November 16, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      November 16, 2012

 

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and a lot of people can’t wait!

Correction! Can’t wait to get it over with!

A number of business chains have upped the opening to Black Friday to being Black Thursday.      “Hurry up with the blessing! We’ve got a line at Walmart to go get our place in!”

The gathering to give thanks has been shortened in order to get that cheap game system sooner. Seeing the grandparents will not be shortened in order to get to Target ahead of the crowd.

I’m not against financial profits, mind you, it’s just that I think they could have waited for a few more hours. Kind of like a truce in the midst of war to observe Christmas.

What it signals to me is our tendency to give lip service to giving thanks while our heart is really focused on the ads that will arrive in next Wednesday and Thursday’s newspaper.

However, no one asked my opinion. J.C. Penney’s didn’t leave me a voice mail asking for a call back. Target didn’t target me. Walmart didn’t inquire about my feelings, perhaps because they know I have a hard time going there on ANY day.

But millions of Americans will face a decision about when the family will gather on Thanksgiving, and a vast number of them will plan dinner on the basis of the time a store is opening.

Grace at Walmart

April 23, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 April 23, 2012

 

Bobby pulled into a crowded Walmart parking lot. Walmart was not one of his favorite places to visit. He wasn’t a crowd kind of guy. As he navigated his way down one of the lanes he spied a wide space that he’d be able to turn his Chevy pick-up truck into. As he approached, however, a Honda Civic coming from the other direction sped up and then turned right in front of Bobby to take the space. Bobby had slowed to a stop to let the Civic go by before making the wide turn to get into the spot.

A thirty-something woman jumped out of the car, and walked right by Bobby, who was still sitting in the same spot he was before she turned in front of him. She didn’t even look in his direction, but just kept walking to the store entrance. The started guy in the truck shook in head in disbelief, and then proceeded to an open spot about thirty yards further down the parking lot.

He walked into the store still muttering to himself, grabbed a basket to put the four things he was buying into, and proceeded to the aisle that sold mustard and mayonnaise. It took him a while to find the baby wipes. His wife usually did the shopping, and having to pass the aisle that had fishing rods and reels took an extra unplanned five minutes, but finally after close to fifteen minutes he had the four items he came for, plus a bag of chips that somehow got into his basket. He headed to the speedy check-out lane. As he was approaching, the Civic lady was coming from the other direction, and she seemed to be on a mission. She got to the lane right about the same time Bobby did, and once again turned in front of him- except this time she was driving a shopping cart.

Bobby knew that he could react in several ways. One would be to confront her. The other extreme to that would be to yield to her. He chose to yield.

The red-haired woman started tossing items from her basket onto the counter, but after putting several items there the check-out cashier said to her, “Ma’am, this lane is for orders of twelve items or less.”

If she would have had thirteen or fourteen, that would be one thing, but she clearly had close to twenty. The woman’s mouth dropped open. She looked troubled and perplexed.

Bobby had an opportunity to see justice rendered. The next few moments could cause him to break into applause, or react differently.

He thought of a recent experience where he was the beneficiary of a random act of kindness. There was no reason for him to even be involved in a solution to the situation, but…

“Excuse me, ma’am! Would you like to put six or seven of your items with mine? We can figure out afterwards how much you owe me.”

The woman who had caused him to mutter to himself, and question his salvation, looked at him, and her troubled facial expression suddenly changed.

“You would do that for me?”

“No problem!”

“Thank you! You don’t know what this means to me!”       They divided up her items, and ended up with each one of them checking out twelve. In the parking lot they took a moment to calculate what she owed him.

“I appreciate what you just did for me. I’m having kind of a bad day, and it seems like everything is a fog for me. My sister was just diagnosed this morning with breast cancer and I guess I’m a little shook. I didn’t know how to react to the news so I got in my car and came to Walmart. I don’t even remember where I parked.”

“Over here,” said Bobby, pointing her towards her Civic.

“How did you know?” the lady asked with a confused look on her face.

“Well…this is kind of embarrassing…but you cut me off when you pulled into the parking space.”

“Oh…I’m sorry! Why did you help me in the check-out lane? You could have gotten some revenge watching me with my excess baggage standing there with my mouth open.

“Each of us needs a touch of grace in our lives.”

Bobby detected tears running down the lady’s cheeks. She looked away, got her composure back, and then looked back at him and said, “Thank you!”

“Have a great day,” Bobby said to her as he started walking away.

The woman- Penny was her name- got into her Civic, sat there shedding tears that were a mixture of sadness and blessing. It wasn’t until she put the key into the ignition that it occurred to her she hadn’t paid the gracious stranger. She jumped out of the car and ran up and down the parking aisles, but the man was gone.

“Perhaps,” she thought to herself, “there are angels!”