Generosity of Spirit: How One Act of Kindness Changed Everything

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.” 

“Yes, ma’am.” 

“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: 

“He’ll never leave you nor forsake you.”  

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?” 

“By listening.” 

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.  

“Y’all done?” 

“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

Sherri Lynn

Morning Show Host, STAR 99.1

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  1. Sherry Lynn Phelps on June 13, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    What a wonderful story. I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob! (Quote from Veggietales). My Mom was a kind and generous soul. I received several first person, in the moment lessons during my childhood that still bring smiles or, in some cases, tears to my 75 year old self. Seems like your Mother has eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that defaults to kindness and generosity. She also seems to have passed these qualities on to her daughter.
    I am grateful to God for the day I “happened upon” the Brant and Sherri radio program and for these random examples of love at work.
    God bless and keep you and your precious family.❤️

    • Sherri Lynn on July 15, 2023 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks so much Sherry!! Sounds like we were both blessed to be raised by wonderful women who knew how to pick wonderful names for their girls. 😉😁

  2. Becki on June 14, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    Beautiful. G-d does bless those who bless others.💕🙏

  3. Fortune Coratti on June 15, 2023 at 11:52 am

    Amen amen!! That story was so beautiful and what a lesson you learned that day. My Mom was the same way a very generous loving caring and Godly woman. I hope I am half the woman she was. And I just know you are like your Mom as well. Good teachings very good! Have a blessed day! Amen!

    • Sherri Lynn on July 15, 2023 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you, Fortune!! I say that all the time, too. I just want to be half the woman my mom is…I’ll still be head and shoulders above the rest!! Blessings to you and your family, sis!!

  4. Kathy on June 15, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Such a beautiful story! You were raised by a special woman. The way you told it, I could see it, like a movie! Thank you for sharing. ☝♥️✝️

  5. Irene Weber on June 15, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Amen. I do the same when I have the cash handy. I know it’s God’s will to provide through the hands and feet of Christ.

    • Sherri Lynn on July 15, 2023 at 12:21 pm

      Yes! Honestly, it took me a while to learn it. Thankfully I had wonderfully examples of generosity from with to learn!

  6. Cassandra Lyle on June 20, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    Beautiful!! Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. JodieEgner on June 22, 2023 at 12:28 am

    What a beautiful story. I would have helped this women without thinking about it. Im glad your mom did the right thing to teach you you have a great mom. I really love you on the show and your partner too. You are both wonderful. Thanks Jodie

    • Sherri Lynn on July 15, 2023 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Jodie!!! ❤️

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