Keith Wishum: For goodness sake
At eight months, Karen was obviously very pregnant. She had decided to take leave from her job waiting tables. The physical demands had become too much, but, on that last Friday night at the restaurant, she worried how she would manage without the extra income.
The evening proved to be a challenging one as Karen served a private party of 150 customers in town for a conference. Yet the strain of the hard work was eased as several patrons asked kind questions about her and her baby.
After dinner, Karen was puzzled when one of the guests called her to the stage. She wondered if she had done something wrong. She was stunned when the guest announced that the group had taken up a collection as a gift for her baby. She wept as she stared at an envelope stuffed with over $300 in cash.
Complete strangers sharing a generous gift with their waitress for no apparent reason. No reason except goodness. And, yes, they still left a 15 percent tip.
Two observations come to mind. The first? There is always good in the world. Sometimes lost among the reports of daily disaster and disease are countless displays of people showing surprising goodness to each other.
We may miss those displays. The driver who waits while you cross the street or drive in front of him. The one who holds the door open for you. A stranger who shares her umbrella. How many seemingly minor reminders of common kindness have gone unnoticed today?
The second observation is this: not only is there much good in the world, but you and I have unlimited opportunities to do good in the world. The gift to Karen at that party averaged only $2 per person. Not likely to have been a strain for any of them, but it meant so much to her.
Similarly, it will require very little of you today for you to show others that people can be good. How long will it take you to let someone cross the street? To hold a door? How much would it cost to send a card, or to make an encouraging phone call? Just a smile and a pleasant “hello” might mean much to someone you meet.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,” (Galatians 6:10). There is already good in the world. Enjoy it. Add to it!
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.