Charity Show

Charity Show

Charity Show                          June 2018

Sometimes what we do should not be about what we can get. Sometimes it should be about what we can give. If you have been to an orphanage to hand out presents, you know about this. Children can express their pleasure without any reservations. Long after you have gone, they can also ask, “Where is that nice lady that came at Christmas?”

When our Pastor visited a foreign land, he was given the cold shoulder by a man that would normally have been pleased to meet him that first time. The Pastor was mystified because he had made the trip at great expense and even greater danger. A year later the Pastor returned. The same fellow was excited to see him and became fully engaged. When asked why the difference, the fellow merely said, “You came back.”

Over the last three years I have sat through the decline of a friend who had lost his wife. At one point early on he asked me to draw up a spreadsheet with days across the top and times down the left hand side. The purpose of the graph was to make sure that people who wanted to visit did not overlap. Folks were to contact me and make appointment times to visit him.   Yes, he DID have that many friends; well at least he and his wife did. We never needed the chart because virtually no one came to visit.

Another friend, who had gone to prison (yes he was guilty of the crime for which he was convicted) asked me, “Why is no one coming to see me?” He mentioned this friend and that one, a very substantial list had formed in his mind.   No chart was needed.

Often, and this is the natural human tendency, we cease in activities for which we will not be repaid.   If there is a party coming up, the question often becomes, “Will it be happening or will it be a bore?”   The question is only pertinent if the person asking has nothing to do with making the party better than it would have been without his or her presence.   It is child like in its simplest form.   “If I go to Billy’s party, will they be giving out party favors? Will there be cake? Will there be ice cream?”   We want our time to be rewarding to us.

My friend the widower, my friend in prison, were giving the party and almost no one showed up. Oh yes, there were lots of reasons: too busy, too sad to remember how things were before, he is guilty of the crime and needs to be punished, I prefer to remember them as a couple, I don’t want to visit a prison because it is scary, I can’t take a whole day to drive there and back, and the list goes on.

Here is the truth – no matter what – I repeat, no matter what; the widower and the prisoner, the one dying, the one ill, the one impoverished, or the one orphaned just need someone that cares enough to show up, and show up again, in his or her life.   It is an acknowledgement of his or her value as a human being. It is reassurance during a time of profound loss, that they matter. That they matter at a time when they don’t feel like they can accomplish anything ever again. We who are the visitors need to set aside ourselves, our rewards, and just go.



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