I heard a story a while back that rocked my thinking. Maybe it will challenge yours. I am not sure if this happening was true, but enough of it sounds believable that it could have happened. It’s a story about a storeowner who built up quite a good business as a small town hardware store. It was one of those stores that had everything and if they did not have the unique piece of hardware you were looking for, they knew how to find it. The employees were both young and old and very helpful, having a great customer service attitude. Many of the students in the town worked at the store and were considered family. The storeowner had a heart for his community: sponsoring local teams, helping his employees with college expenses, giving service time and finances to local charities and town projects, and also giving back to the community with discounted, and many times free, items to the town’s public works and maintenance shops.
Well, the recession hit and the business was moving along at a very slow pace. The storeowner had to dip into his personal savings to keep some of his most needy employees working. Regardless, he kept giving back as he was able. One day, when one of his friends, who was fairly unscathed by the recession, promoted in his company with hefty bonuses, and able to buy a new, bigger house on the other side of town, came in to the hardware store. This friend and the owner went through the whole store, bringing more and more stuff up to the checkout counter: new faucets, new doors and matching hardware, new light fixtures, new outdoor lighting, even a new lawn mower! The storeowner was ecstatic! He could finally make payroll. This purchase would bring in much needed revenue.
As an enthusiastic cashier rang up the order and was just about to announce the grand total, the friend reached over to the storeowner and said, “Hey Buddy, how about the old ‘friends and family discount’?” The storeowner was stunned, and little befuddled. If he gave him a discount, much of his profits would be gone. The storeowner answered back, “Well, Bill, this has been a tough year. You know how bad it’s been.” Bill looked a bit stunned, but smiled back and said, “Awe, come on Frank. What about just 10%?” Frank took a firm stance, looked Bill in the eye and said, “Why not give me the ‘friends and family blessing’ and pay 10% more!” Wow! That makes us think!
How would you respond if you were Bill? The reality is, it is so easy to be just like Bill, looking to get a deal or a discount over giving back. We rarely think of giving back to the companies that have blessed us with their good service, good products, or good merchandise. Now, we may not have to volunteer to pay 10% more, but we can leave a good tip, refer people to their store, or show a little customer loyalty. The notion here is to shift from getting to giving back. To give back to the businesses we frequent, but also to the cities, churches, schools, and other organizations around us. To give back, not get, not volunteering to be seen or for what we get out of helping, but to serve just because that’s what good people do. The Bible challenges us to give back.
Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Now yes, there is a blessing in giving back. But the blessing comes from God in His way.
Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
So let’s give back. Let’s be generous. Let’s serve, looking to purely help rather than to get or push our power around. Let’s give back and bless our communities and neighborhoods. How could you give back this week?
Church is also a great place not only to learn about giving back, but we can give back there as well. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We would love to connect with you.
Seeking to give back along with you,