ALONG THE JOURNEY
BY MARK WILBANKS
Pay it Forward
For 17 years Percy Ross wrote a newspaper column called “Thanks a Million” that he used as a platform to help others. He made his fortune and wanted to give most of it away. It is estimated that he gave away $20-30 million to assist people in need. His column ran in 800 publications and his syndicated radio program was aired on over 400 stations. One of the letters he received was from a man named Wilson Demarest:
“Dear Mister Percy Ross, You are so generous to help so many people. I am poor but I get bye. I don’t need money. I live under a bridge and it has a steam pipe under so I am warm in the winter. There is a diner close bye and dumster is always got food that trukers don’t eat. So I got every thing and don’t need money. But I see you in the papers and I think if I was rich like you I will help people too. The other day I helped some buddy and he gave me $20. That is nice but there is some buddy that needs it more that I do I’m shure. $20 make me rich so I share and try to help you to do good. Please give this $20 to some buddy that realy need it.”
The letter was quoted in an article in USA Today in September, 1992. Ross received an average of 12,000 letters each week, none of them offering to do what Wilson Demarest did.
What makes a person generous? You cannot demand generosity. Guilt and shame do not produce it. You find some other qualities that are companions to generosity – humility, joy, gratitude, compassion, kindness …
We were created to be blessed but also to bless, to receive but also to give. Since we are made in the image of our Creator, we are most like Him when we display generous spirits. Gordon MacDonald wrote: “Inside the soul of every Christian is a God-inspired desire for the generous life – a life tailored around His example of selflessness and sacrifice.”
Sometimes during the Lenten season people think about what they could give up. I heard a guy say he was going to give up Diet Coke during Lent. Impressive. I think there is more to our preparation for Holy Week and for Easter. Perhaps we need to be overwhelmed again by the generosity God displayed through His Son. Perhaps in our desire to be more like Him we could open our hearts a bit wider.
Easter Celebration at Wieuca on April 16 in the sanctuary. Our morning worship service will include the Ordinance of Baptism. If you are interested in participating, please contact the pastor’s office: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.