I squirmed as Bob placed the purchases from the grocery cart onto the conveyor belt. As his hand brought forth two boxes of Tampax, I looked away, overwhelmed with embarrassment. This man was my employer. I babysat for him and his wife, Merilyn. And now he was buying me feminine hygiene supplies.
I first met Bob and Merilyn in a Sunday school class I joined after moving to their town. It didn’t take many Sundays for me to realize that Merilyn was a professor at the college across the street from where I lived. As I garnered enough courage to actually speak up in class, she determined my need for income.
That is how I became their babysitter. Many days, as I left for home, she would give me a bag of groceries. But on this day the conversation had gone like this.
“So, Lois, do you have food to eat at home?”
“Sure, we are doing OK.”
“We know you’ve just come through a very hard time and have no income. Would you let us help you?”
“No, we will be just fine. But thanks.”
“OK, you just aren’t getting it. We want to help. We have the means to help. God wants us to help. But your pride is not going to let us? You are depriving us from receiving a blessing.”
Pride? I didn’t know I had any left. But, yes, it was pride that I didn’t want them to take me to the store and buy stuff for me. I was on my own and I was determined to make it. But Merilyn wasn’t through.
“Sometimes in life we are the giver … and sometimes the givee. When you get on your feet, you can pass it on and help someone else. Wouldn’t you like to do that?”
“Yes, right after I paid you back.”
“So you would let us have just a temporary blessing … and then take it away?”
I gave in.
Merilyn stayed home with the kids so she could start dinner and sent Bob to the store with me. At the front of the store, he retrieved a cart and said, “Lois, we are just going to go up and down the aisles and you put what you need in the cart. OK?”
Going down the first aisle, I put a gallon of milk in the cart and kept walking … reaching for a dozen eggs. When I turned to place the eggs in the cart, Bob had returned to the beginning of the aisle. He motioned for me to come to him. I obeyed … carton of eggs in my hand.
“Ok, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. When we get to the other side of the store, I expect this cart to be so full you can’t put anything else in it. Now, do you want to pick what goes in, or do you want me to pick for you? You will probably get some things you don’t need or don’t want, but the cart will be full. Which is it?”
I put stuff in.
I learned a HUGE lesson that day. The Bible says “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” If we don’t allow someone to give, we block their blessing.
As my life improved, I began the process of giving. Oh, it wasn’t much, but I received a blessing. And when the receiver began to talk of repaying, I just quoted Bob.
Bob kept giving to the end. Merilyn needed a kidney to survive. Bob was a match, but too heavy for the surgery. He quickly lost down to a healthy weight and gave his wife a kidney. But there were complications for Bob.
He didn’t make it.
Maybe today you can be the giver. But maybe someone else needs to be the giver and you need to learn to be the givee. Pride is not a good thing … and it blocks the channel of blessing.
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