It’s the day after Thanksgiving 2007 and I have never been more grateful. I’ve never had so much to be grateful for in my life. In May of this year we were blessed with our first grandchild. If you read the Stonebridge, you have already “met” wee Kyle. I hope the little lad is the first of many. In just a few short days I will begin my ministry at Evangel Baptist Church in Taylor, Michigan. I am an author. This morning I drove my Jeep to the post office in the lovely village of Hinsdale, Illinois and mailed the first two copies of my book to buyers. It would be hard to be happier.
One day I was looking for a location in Muskegon, Michigan. I stopped at a gas station for directions. An elderly man eagerly gave me very specific directions. He was buying something to drink and some snacks. When they rang him up I paid for his things. He was grateful. It made me feel happy. He warmly wished me a good day as I walked away.
The next morning I took a prayer walk to Hinsdale. It is a very wealthy village. You rarely see a homeless person or a vagrant. But a man ducked into the bagel shop. He was obviously not a local home-owner. The first thing I noticed about him was that he had the good sense to wear a sturdy hat. I was bareheaded and it was raining hard. I still had to try to get home between downpours. Rising to leave I filled my coffee then went over to make a little small-talk with the gentleman. He was pleasant and told me he was having a good day. He also offered that he was going to wait for the rain to let up, see if he could get a couple dollars, and then take the train back downtown. I said, “I’ve been looking for something I can do in Jesus’ name.” I tucked a five-dollar bill in the pocket of his backpack and slipped out onto the street.
The other day Lois told me about a random act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-through. Someone paid for the coffee of the one behind him in the drive-through. That driver then paid for the one behind him. The simple act of goodwill spread six cars back. I love stories like that. In my flesh I don’t think I am particularly generous but when I hear stories like that I want to be a giver. I want to be kind to strangers. Giving inspires giving. Kindness inspires kindness.
Today is the day after Thanksgiving. I’m in a corner window booth of the Corner Bakery overlooking the village green in Hinsdale, Illinois. It is cold today but the sun shines brilliant in a clear November sky. The last of the bright yellow leaves are blowing down. Soon the city will be black and white and gray, but today there is a splash of color left. The village is alive with shoppers and alight with decorations. This is that day they call “Black Friday” because, according to popular belief, retailers go in the black for the year with their sales on this date. So people are out buying things to give to others. Perhaps today in America after millions of people had especially thankful hearts yesterday they are having generous thoughts. They are thinking of giving and of others.
Simple acts of kindness and giving this time of year go down like rich cocoa on a cold winter night. When you are kind, you inspire kindness in others. When you give, you infect others with a generous spirit. The next thirty days before Christmas are going to be busy and full – perhaps even chaotic at times. It’s easy to miss the whole point. I hope I can keep my spirit quiet enough not to frighten the bright bird of generosity of the branch of my life.
It would be real kind and generous of you to tell all your friends about the Stonebridge Newsletter. It’s free and they can subscribe at www.kenpierpont.com.
November 23, 2007