Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Millionaires and Me

From 1955 to 1960, there was a television show called "The Millionaire." The rich man the show centered around gave one million dollars (worth about eight million today) to some poor soul the millionaire deemed to be deserving. We were always jealous of the person who got the money, knowing good and well we deserved it much more.

We dreamed the star of the show would show up at our door. We talked about what we were going to do with our riches when he did. In retrospect, it seems we had some major fantasy/reality separation issues.

Wouldn't it be fine if we could bless people like that? The people in my circle can't, but we do what we can. I fear we miss many opportunities to help because we are not paying attention of the life around us.

One Saturday morning not long past, I was at the grocery store a couple of minutes before it opened at nine. This particular grocery store rents shopping carts for a quarter; this way, they know you will put them back in the rack when you are done. That morning, I had prayed that Father would open my eyes to the people he puts in my path that I can help.

I opened the car door and instantly saw a little old woman coming toward me at a high rate of speed for anyone, much less someone who is well advanced in age. Breathlessly, she asked, "Honey, have you got change for a twenty?"
"No," I told her, "but here's a quarter for your cart." I may not be able to hand out millions, but I'm good for a quarter almost any day.

"I'll pay you back," she panted.

"No need. You just go and have a great day." I was feeling particularly spiritual about then, being able to bless someone without making much of a sacrifice.

The store doors opened, and the groceries started flying off the shelves into our carts. Several minutes later, I was looking for some granola (you might be surprised how much better yogurt tastes if you put a lot of sweet, crunchy granola in it) when a sweet voice said, "Well, here it is."

Yes, it was the little woman, returning my quarter. She had gone through the checkout lane just to get change so she could pay me back.

Despite my best efforts, I was not able to give away a quarter. This leaves me wondering, if I had an extra million, would it be hard to give away? Pretty sure I'll never know the answer. At least, not in this lifetime.