It was the season of fall in a small park by an expanding lake. It was a place of stillness and beauty, one where an old man named John always visited to cleanse his daily stresses.
Today however, the shading of nature was darker than ever before, light fading every passing second as the leaves became released from their ties. The thriving greens that were once so beautiful and healthy had now become old, weak and had lost their energy.
“I wonder,” pondered John to himself. “Have I reached my limit? Have I already achieved everything I will ever achieve? Can I no longer bring service to this world?”
“There is only so much a man can do for himself,” said a young man suddenly as he approached John, appearing dirty and poorly dressed. “But there is always something he can do for others.”
“Who are you and what do you want from me?” inquired John defensively.
The young man smiled warmly.
“I’d like to know your name, sir.”
“What benefit is that to you?”
“No benefit, sir. I’d just simply like to connect with you.”
“John. My name is John. Now what do you want from me? Money? Fine, then it’s yours!”
“That is not why I approached you this evening, sir.”
“Well, you sure look like you could use it.”
John analyzed the young man’s dirty body and torn up clothes.
“You may be right, sir,” he admitted. “But I am not thinking of myself this very moment.”
“What do you mean you’re not thinking of yourself? Look at you! You clearly have needs to attend to, so why worry about mine?”
As John stared at the young man skeptically, the young man smiled tenderly at him.
“Something inside of me wanted me to tell you something, sir,” began the young man. “I can’t explain why, but a voice inside of me told me to tell you that your time is not yet up, but is, in fact just beginning. The small still voice inside of me wanted you to know that he has a big plan for you and that you have nowhere yet reached your fullest potential. Lastly, the voice inside of me wanted you to know that you are very loved, and that nothing you have done or will ever do will change that.”
Astonished by the young man’s unexpected words, John sat speechless, turning away briefly to wipe away the sudden tears from his eyes.
“Who told you to say this and why have you bothered to tell me?” he interrogated.
“It is the god inside of me, sir. He has instructed me to act on your behalf.”
“Well I never asked you to do anything for me! And why is this ‘god’ asking you to do things for me? Shouldn’t he be taking care of you?”
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38. God has told me that all my needs will be taken care of, therefore instead of spending my time worrying about myself, God wants me to attend to other people’s needs, while he attends to mine.”
“How do you know your needs will ever be attended to? I mean, it’s great to think of others in your time of struggle but can you really do anything for others when your own needs aren’t met? Don’t take this the wrong way but what can you do for others in your current position? You clearly don’t money or power, so what can you possibly do to offer benefit?”
“You’re correct, sir. I do not have any money or power, but I do have a dream. I have ambition, and most importantly of all, I have love.”
“Love? What security can that bring?”
“It brings the security of happiness, sir. Without happiness, everything we work for becomes meaningless.”
Feeling exposed, John turned away from the young man’s eyes, lightening the tension on his face.
“Well I can’t argue with that…tell me, son, you said you had a dream. What is it?”
“It is my dream, sir to open up a dream care center that will provide not only food and shelter for the homeless, but offer them hope and inspiration from God’s word for their futures. I do not wish to limit this center to only the homeless however, but for anyone who’s willing to join our big family.”
“That cost quite a bit of money, son. How do you plan on gathering the funds for this when you’re wasting your time with an old man like me?”
“I believe God has called me to execute this plan, but I also believe he doesn’t want me to wait until the plan is accomplished to begin helping and showing love to others. I may not have money or power, but I do have willpower. As long as I have that, I can get started doing what I’m called to do right now!”
“You’re a good lad…and also very brave, but you still haven’t answered my question. How are you gathering funds for your project?”
“My brother and I are gathering funds at various churches we speak at. So far we’ve already managed to gather some blankets, coats and food to send out for the homeless. While they eat, my brother and I preach words of hope and inspiration to them. It’s no dream care center but it is a start. We may not have much, sir, but you’re welcome to join us on our sermons every Sunday after church. We don’t have the best food or quality items, but we always offer the kindest of love.”
“So you truly are serious about this. You’re not just another one of those talkers, are you?”
“All I know, sir, is that with God, I can do all things.”
“I’ve never met a man like you, who’s willing to trade security for the risks that go with helping others.”
“In the end, sir, love and kindness will always be the most important things in our lives. We all have needs, yes, but if we trust that God will supply for us, then we have all the time in the world to help supply for others.”
“You said you are taking donations at your church?”
“Yes, sir, the one just up the road from here.”
“Then let me acquire happiness by helping you acquire yours. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but the time you set aside for my behalf has really sparked new life in me. You may not have money or power but somehow you brought me new hope; hope I thought I’d never find again. All this time I thought kindness was overrated, but somehow your acts of kindness made me feel like I wasn’t just simply an old man taking up this planet’s resources and space. What you’re doing for this community is a wonderful thing, and I’d very much like to join in on your efforts to spread it to the world.”
“So you mean you’ll join us for Sunday?”
“No, you fool! I mean I have decided to fund your entire project.”
“You’re absolutely right, son! It’s kindness that makes the world go round, not power and competition. We shouldn’t have to tower over others to ensure our own needs are met, but instead we should use our resources to give to others, and have them give to us. Giving! That’s real business right there!”
“Are you certain you can afford this? I’m not sure you realize how expensive this project really is. My brother and I have been gathering funds for almost three years now.”
“I know I may not look like it, son, but I’m an extremely wealthy man. The fact that you did not realize that warms my heart even more about you. You’re actually willing to set aside your own time for others without expecting anything in return from them at all. That’s truly inspiring.”
“I cannot thank you enough, sir. I don’t even know what to say.”
“Good, then don’t thank me. You shouldn’t even have to thank me because kindness is never earned, it’s given…and given to you it shall be…with nothing expected in return!”