Many years ago a man in Kansas City made a choice to give away some cash. It was a choice that changed his life and the lives of thousands of others. The Associated Press reported that for the next 27 years, a man known only as Secret Santa roamed the streets every December quietly giving people money. He starated with $5 and $10 bills. As his fortune grew, so did the gifts. In more recent years, Secret Santa handed out $100 bills, sometimes two or three at a time, to people in thrift stores, diners and parking lots. He anonymously ended up giving out about $1.3 million. It all began when he was fired from his job just days before Christmas in 1979. As he was wallowing in self-pity in a drive-in restaurant he noticed that the car hop didn't have on a very warm jacket and it was very cold outside. So he gave her a $20 bill and told her to keep the change. Her lips began to tremble and tears began to flow down her cheeks. She said, "Sir, you have no idea what this means to me." He was so deeply touched the he decided to go to the bank that very day and withdraw $200, then drove around looking for people who could use a lift. He said, "That was my Christmas present to myself." But not too long ago Larry Stewart died from complications caused by esophageal cancer. He was only fifty-eight years old.
Stewart spoke often to community groups about his devotion to kindness and tried to inspire others to donate their time and money. "That's what we're here for," he said, "to help others." As a follower of Jesus Christ I think Stewart has it half right when he notes that we are here to help others. The religious scholars asked Jesus one time about what life should look like and Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39).
I challenge you to try Larry Stewart's experiment. Go buy yourself a gadget or outfit. Note the reading on your personal joy meter. Then go give money to a desperate mom trying to make ends meet. Or give some cash to an elderly couple who can't pay ther heating bill. Or deliver a Christmas gift to a child who woul dlnot receive gifts any other way. Then see which action has give you the most joy. ZLarry Stwart learned that lesson. And you can too.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship