A few years ago, I volunteered to run our church’s live nativity (“Love’s Story”). It is a blessing to share the story of Jesus with our community. Even though it isn’t cheap in time, money or labor, it is so much fun.
About two months before we hold the event, I ask local businesses for donations. And, they are so very generous and kind. But, to be honest, I dread making these requests. It feels a lot like begging; and, standing at the office or customer service desk or hallway can make me feel like an interloper. This year, Ryan changed all of that.
I took my business cards, letter of introduction and smiling self and went into Ryan’s place of business, a large, box store with hundreds of employees. I have been here before. Most of the time, this company gives us a kind donation of a gift card to be used at their store.
The nice lady at the counter greeted me and I explained why I was there. She said, “Let me call Ryan.” I handed her my letter with business card attached and she read parts of it out loud as she talked on the phone “Ryan.” It was a quick call; she turned to me and said, “I’ll be back.” I stood there feeling awkward, trying to find products with labels to read.
In just a few minutes, the woman I had spoken with returned with “Ryan.” We shook hands and he said, “I remember you well; of course, we will help again this year.” Then he smiled and handed to me a gift card that was double what they had donated last year. What?? I was shocked. I didn’t have to make multiple visits to Ryan’s business; I didn’t have to explain over and over why I was asking for their help; I didn’t have to beg. I asked and Ryan said yes and yes again. It still gives me chills.
Ryan gave us what we needed and then he gave us more.
(You need to understand that the donation was only $50, but that is twice what it was last year. You might think that a large business would do more – I don’t worry about that at all. A gift doesn’t have to “big” to give me chills. Generosity has nothing at all to do with the dollar amount.)
What a wonderful reminder of what the holidays should mean. This year, I want to be like Ryan. I want to be generous. I want to give people what they really want and need. I want to give with grace and ease and style. I want giving to be fun and unexpected and joyful.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)