Life’s Lessons


When opportunity presents itself

A group of 29 eager, happy, avid adults was enjoying a one-day motor coach tour of Goodwill stores in southern Michigan. The 29 included the driver and two tour company escorts, all of whom were shopping throughout the day’s visits to nine different stores.

By noon, we had already visited five (Or was it six?) different stores. We had been presented with a survival bag at the outset of the trip to make notes of the trip if desired, but mostly to stave off the hungries! Still, by now, there was total agreement when our box lunches were delivered. After all, who can resist a box lunch from Panera Bread?

Lunches in hand, we once again boarded the motor coach for a 30-minute ride to the next store, ample time to partake of the contents and be rid of the box before arriving at the next stop.

Thus, I believe everyone was munching down on his sandwich and anticipating that nice, big chocolate-chip cookie.

Our driver got us started but we were stopped for a traffic signal almost immediately.

At the traffic light stood a lady who was quite obviously in need. She quietly held a sign stating her plight – homeless and hungry. I imagine almost everyone on the coach did as I did – looked down at his or her very large partially eaten sandwich and wondered how he or she could share.

In that instant of time just before the light changed, the coach door opened and one of our escorts jumped out, handed the needy lady a bag, and quickly got back on the bus with the approval of everyone, evidenced by the clapping.

Next, the question, “Did you give her your lunch?”

“No, it was a extra. We always order one extra lunch in case someone joins the tour the morning we leave.”

Always on the alert, I immediately began thinking how this would translate into a story with a message for my column. In fact, I had prayed just that morning for a story idea. In just moments, a friend across the aisle said, “Helen, there’s a story for you!” I appreciated that but, as I told her, I was already working on it.

Though it transpired as though a part of the original planning for the trip, this was a simple gesture of sharing excess with someone in need, which just seemed a natural response from the individual who gave it as well as with the blessing of all who witnessed it.

That sort of thing comes from who we are on the inside. For many of us it comes from our childhood training to share. It also stems from a desire to meet the needs of others of God’s children.

I don’t doubt many on that trip added their own silent “God bless you” to the gift that was given.

Simple, generous, natural – all of those, but truly supplying an immediate need.

Let’s be quick to respond when we note others in need. Thereby, we may be the only Bible that person reads, and they could possibly come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ just through that simple gesture.

When opportunity presents itself