One day I needed to make a quick run to the hardware store. I gathered my four sons, who had been playing in the dirt, and we drove off in our old faded green Plymouth. They boys looked pretty grimy and I didn't look much better, but I wanted to get to the store before it closed.
On the way home, I noticed a weathered man and his plainly dressed wife selling vegetables out of the back of a beat—up station wagon that looked even older and junkier than our Plymouth. But the corn looked fresh and tasty, so I stopped. Their hand-lettered sign read, "Homegrown —— 8 ears for $1.00." I realized I had spent nearly everything
at the hardware store. All I had were a few coins. Undeterred, I asked, "How many ears can I get for sixty-one
"How many do you need'?" the man asked.
"Well, there are six in my family, but I'm a little short here," I replied.
"It's a deal," he said and stuffed six big ears of corn into a used paper bag.
After we got home my kids showed me a paper sack on the floor by the back seat. Inside were several beautiful tomatoes, two cucumbers, a couple of green peppers and some beets. Surely the man and his wife needed the money that could have come from the sale of those vegetables. Why had they done it?
Then it dawned on me: old car, dirty kids, no money. The couple had assumed we were in need and had responded with compassion. Their generosity was humbling because they had given from what little they had.
That night as we bowed our heads and said grace, I gave thanks and a special prayer. "God, if others can give
out of so little, help us always to do the same."
Las Vegas, Nevada