We talk about generosity a lot on The Brant Hansen Show.
May I share a short story with you from my early 20s that forever changed my life and perspective on generosity?
(**If you said “no” I couldn’t hear you, so I’m just going to plow ahead here…)
Listening to God’s Word
One Sunday afternoon my Mother and I were sitting in the car waiting for the rest of our family to come out of the church. A young mother exited the church and reluctantly approached our car.
“Miss Bev…?” she said softly with tears in her eyes.
“What’s wrong, baby?” my Mom asked in her classic calming, motherly tone. She lowered the window on the passenger side so she could hold the young mother’s hand.
“I hate to ask this,” the young mother continued never lifting her eyes from the ground. “I’m ready to do what we talked about,” tears streamed down her face as she looked down at the little three-year-old girl clinching her leg.
“What do you need?”
“Like…um…” she paused. “Like..17 dollars?” her voice broke. She rubbed the head of her baby girl who had reached her hand up to touch my mom’s hand.
“That’s all you need?” my Mom asked with surprise.
“Yes, ma’am. Just a few dollars to get Hailey something to eat and a few dollars gas money to get to my mom’s. She said we can stay there for a while.”
“All your stuff packed?”
“Yes, ma’am it’s in the car. It’s just when I went to the ATM before church to check my balance…He…He…um… He…”
“Took it all,” concluded my Mom.
“Yes, ma’am. And he doesn’t work. So, it’s all mine,” her voice began to raise. “All of it. Mine!”
“It’s okay, baby! It’s ok,” reassured my Mom as she dug in her purse and pulled out a piece of peppermint hard candy and handed it to an ecstatic Hailey.
My Mom then turned to me.
“Sherri, I don’t have any cash. Can you give this girl some money, please?”
“Huh?” I said, whipping my head quickly to the passenger seat.
We stared at each other for what seemed like a few hours.
“Give this girl some money,” she said confused about why she had to say it twice.
“Oh, um, ok. Sure.” I reached for my purse and wallet in the back seat.
The young mom felt the awkwardness and attempted to assure me. “I’ll pay you back when I come back from my mom’s, Sherri.”
“You ain’t got to pay her back, baby,” My Mom said loud and proud.
Again, my head whipped to the passenger’s seat. My Mom was smiling and rubbing little Hailey’s hand.
I opened my wallet. My mom glanced over as I grabbed a 10 and a 5. As I went for the final two dollar bills to complete the 17 dollar request…
“20. 20. 10.” My mom said calmly under her breath to me as she turned back to the window.
“Wait. What?” I thought to myself. That’s FIFTY!
“Your mama lives in Kittaninning, right?” she said, scrounging in her purse for another peppermint.
“Yes, ma’am,” the young mother answered with a smile.
“That’s a nice drive. My son just had a football game out there. Beautiful trees and hills.”
“Sherri, come on! They gotta get on the road.” She handed another peppermint to Hailey who quickly crunched through the first, so she could accommodate a second.
I, admittedly in shock, handed my mom a 20, a 20, and a 10. She took it from my hand and in one fluid motion handed it out the window to the young mom.
Her eyes expanded to two times their size.
“Miss Bev, this is too…”
“It’s fine. You get you and this baby something to eat, get some gas, and get on the road. Straight on the road. You hear me?” My Mom paused while still holding the young mom’s hand “Don’t go back to that house.”
The girl stared at my Mom as if she had just uncovered a secret.
“This is enough for you to get directly on the road, right?”
“How did you…?” the young girl whispered, still holding the money in her outstretched hand.
“Miss Bev, been there baby. Y’all go ahead now. Get to your mama’s house.”
The young mom bent down and hugged my mom through the open window. She broke down and cried. As my mom whispered in her ear:
After she wiped her tears, she gathered up Hailey and crossed the street to her overpacked car burgeoning with all their belongings.
We watched them pull off. I stared straight ahead trying to process what just happened. Miss Bev had unfinished business with me.
“You really was gonna give that girl 17 dollars?”
“She asked for 17 dollars.”
“She needed 50, Sherri.”
“How was I supposed to know that?”
I had no comeback for that, so I just sat there.
Sensing all the mixed emotions I had swirling around in me, she gently reached over, pulled my head down, kissed my forehead, and held my face in her hands.
“Trust me. God will do far more with that 50 dollars in her hands than you would have done with it in yours.” She smiled and kissed my forehead again.
As other members of my family began to leave the church my Mom leaned her head out of the window.
“Yeah,” my Uncle yelled back as he headed for his truck.
“Ok, one of y’all gotta pay for our dinner. Sherri just gave all our money away.”
Again, my head whipped to the passenger seat. Seriously?
“No problem. I got y’all,” my Aunt said as she opened up my back door and got in the back seat.
“Thank you!,” my Mom said as she rolled up her window. “See,” she said as she grabbed my hand. “I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging bread!”
“I hope y’all know y’all ordering from the kiddie menu.” My Aunt quipped from the back.
They both laughed hysterically as I pulled off.
As crazy as it may seem, that day I received my greatest lesson on generosity.
Bible Verse About Generosity
“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.”Psalm 37:25-26
Morning Show Host, STAR 99.1
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