“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!”

Psalm 90:17

THE CHINESE BAMBOO TREE

In Asia there is a bamboo tree that grows in a very surprising way. After planting its small seed, the tree takes five years to grow, before it springs forth through the soil. For five long years it spreads out its roots and creates the foundation for a surprisingly and remarkable quick growth spurt. During its sixth year the tree begins to emerge through the soil and grows to almost one hundred feet in six weeks! That’s ten to fifteen feet a week or almost two feet a day. The reason for this extraordinary growth is a well-established root system that has been burrowing in the ground for five long years. No short cuts, just five years of laying a good foundation.

“Success isn’t driven through wanting, but through working hard.”

In my work with clients I often see a reluctance to wait. I see people who want to be successful now. Success isn’t driven through wanting, but through working hard. Sure, there are stories of over-night success, but for most of us it requires a long period of making mistakes and learning what works. The key to success is laying a sustainable foundation.

“Successful people learn that failure is a lesson in how to be successful.”

For those that put in the time, they learn how to get better. Most of their time is fixing what didn’t work. A vast amount of time is spent with failing. Successful people learn that failure is a lesson in how to be successful. They learn the value of quality in all that they do.

“The successful common denominator for those that succeed was they never gave up.”

During the time of incubation in our careers or businesses we will be confronted with dismay and a need to work harder. Henry Ford failed five times before his business took off. Colonel Sanders didn’t become successful until the age of sixty-five. Abraham Lincoln lost most of his runs for political office. The successful common denominator for those that succeed was they never gave up. Successful people know to keep trying.

“Seldom will we know which root of our hard work is the one that springs forth our success.”

Around every corner there is the opportunity to try a little harder. There is a moment when we have to dig deeper. Seldom will we know which root of our hard work is the one that springs forth our success. Like the Bamboo tree it may take many years for us to be successful.

“Through God we receive insight and providential help.”

In today’s verse the Psalmist prays for the Lord to find favor with the work of his hands. Besides working hard to achieve our success, this simple prayer found in Psalm 90 brings God into our work. Through God we receive insight and providential help. A consistent and faithful relationship with God opens our eyes and teaches us how God wants us to succeed.

Never give up on our dreams. If they are honest and faithful dreams, there will be success. Like the Chinese Bamboo tree we have to create strong roots in our work and with God, to succeed. We will never know which extra effort caused our success, but we will know God helped us try harder.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Parting Thoughts

  • What is your dream?
  • What disappointments have you encountered achieving this dream?
  • What have you learned?
  • What are the next steps?

Photo by Mai Rodriguez

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 9:10

THREE VITAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT BUSINESS PERSON

During my business career as a CFO in organizations such as, Footlocker and Yankee Candle, we seldom used resumes to identify great employees. Instead we used three other determinants to decide who was going to be hired or promoted. We looked for people that were positive, trustworthy and desired competence in their work. Sure it is an unorthodox and counter intuitive approach, but it worked. We put people in jobs that didn’t indicate they could do the job, frequently. We relied exclusively on these three traits. In the end it always worked out. There is also a fourth component to our success and it is relying on God, especially in tough times. Faithful people know how to  maintain these skills during moments of stress. During tough times these people worked with God to gain insight and to steady themselves.

Always Maintain a Positive Attitude

People migrate to others who are upbeat, energetic and happy. These are the people that always seem to have things go their way. These people can make otherwise resistant people want to help. They get things done because their paths are clear and straight. Drama is what they avoid and camaraderie is what they seek. Maintaining a positive attitude opens more doors than grumbling.

Be Trustworthy in Everything

Trustworthy people are the ones we turn to when we have a difficult problem. They are trustworthy in everything; their conversations, work and social interactions. When they say they can do something, we know they will. They don’t let momentary obstacles delay their tasks. They figure out how to meet their commitments. These people treasure being honest and always provide clear facts despite being in a difficult situation. Every conversation with these people leaves us assured we have the facts and answers.

Desire to be Competent in Everything

Competence isn’t created because we are good talkers, but good doers. There may be times we don’t know the technical aspects of our jobs; great employees seek to understand how to improve and spend their days listening to learn. They thirst for knowledge and are careful with ill-informed opinions. While these people may be slow at first, their unquenchable desire to be the best raises them up over time. Competency does come on a resume, but comes through learning and listening openly to others.

Learn to Rely on God

While all these traits are easy to do when things are running smoothly, it is much harder in times of duress. During difficult times it is hard to stay upbeat. When confronted with difficult tasks it is hard to stay assured and confident. It can be hard when pressed to give a different answer then what the facts say. But we have one resource available to help us through the times. Prayers and a close relationship with God will certainly buoy us during these storms. Adhering to the values of God in our responses to duress we protect us and tell us what path to follow. Through God we will receive the right answers to life’s difficult times to help us stay positive, trustworthy and competent.

Why not try these four values out today and don’t forget to pray for guidance.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by rawpixel

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

SEVEN WAYS JESUS’S VALUES CREATE SUSTAINABLE AND FAITHFUL SUCCESS

All of us want to be successful in our lives, careers and if we run a business, our business. Much has been talked about regarding the prosperity Gospel, which doesn’t exist. What does exist is a way to be faithful and achieve sustainable success in our lives through using the values expressed by Jesus. There are seven things we can all do to achieve our life goals.

Become Committed to the Values of Jesus

“Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

John 5:19

In this famous statement made by Jesus we receive the advice on how we should handle the circumstances of our career’s and lives. Simply put, only do what we know God wants us to do. Without compromise, by adhering to this simple statement we will straighten our paths and create a persona that tells the world who we are and what we stand for. We are the ones who don’t waver from doing good and we are the ones who put others first. But we also create a business and career that is sustainable for a longer term.

Seek to Solve Needs Not Profits

“When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

To create a sustainable career or business we should solve needs first and not profits first. Sure, the fastest route to becoming successful is to acquire money or profits. But it isn’t sustainable. It might work in the short term, but over time this strategy will fail. A business or career that is designed to serve will always outpace those who seek personal gain, over the long term. Over time a business or career that thinks only about serving will be recognized as such and will generate a loyal following. In the tough times it is these people or businesses that others will call upon.

Measure Success Differently

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Think less about how much money we made, but more on the impact we made. How did we help? How did we make life better? Don’t become slaves to our to do lists, but focusing on  what God wants is what counts. At the end of each day there will be noticeable differences that we made. Over time, making an impact will become a habit.

Run Our Career’s and Businesses Ethically

“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,”

Colossians 3:23

Simply put, whatever we do in our careers or business, we should always follow the ways of God. Sure, this might mean we lose a sale or a job we wanted. Certainly, there will be times when our results are lower than our expectation. But in the long run, we will become remembered as trustworthy and reliable. When tough assignments or jobs are needed to be completed, we will be at the forefront of the mind for those who need help. We will build a legacy of trustworthy and ethical behavior.

Treat Failures as Lessons

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

In our lives we will all stumble. Failure is inevitable. Our perspective should not be to become dismayed, but to learn from failure. The greatest lessons in business are not learned from success, but from failure. Our failures are investments in our future successes. The greatest asset we have in failure is what we learned. With our hearts pointed to God, we will have trust in the future and the lessons of the past.

Seek to Serve and Not be served

“Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28

In all interactions we should first look to help. Whether it is with our customers or fellow employees, our first concern should be are we helpful. We take burdens away when we help and move further away from becoming a burden. Our customers and compatriots will index to coming to us, because they know we will help. We become valued not only because we can do our job, but most importantly because they know we care. Resisting the first impulse to avoid getting involved improves how others think of us.

Have a Heart for God

“Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

In all that we do, we should point our hearts to God and the ways of God. There will be tests that arise along the way, but they are momentary obstacles to our overall success. When our hearts are pointed with pureness to seek God, obstacles begin to melt. God does not desire our perfection in all things, God desires a closer relationship with us.

While these tenets may not bring about grand material gains, following these seven simple principles will provide a straighter path to sustainable success. We will not be tossed to and fro when following these simple principles. Instead we will have straighter paths and a sustainable future.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. (2) And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (3) Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

Acts 2:1-4

“I was enthralled by this plain spoken cowboy, and his words about the Holy Spirit.”

OUR LIFE COACH, THE HOLY SPIRIT

Recently I was on the “Zeb at the Ranch” radio show and became inspired by one specific listener. Zeb broadcasts his show throughout Southern Idaho and has a large faithful following. This particular listener, called in to ask me a question. His question was part seeking an answer and a mini sermonette on the Holy Spirit. As the caller was talking for a lengthy time, I could sense Zeb was getting anxious. But I was enthralled by this plain spoken cowboy, and his words about the Holy Spirit.

One particular comment he made stated that he was frustrated that people don’t make their morning plans with the Holy Spirit in mind. His long winded point was that we were given this wonderful being to guide us in prayer, to walk with us throughout the day, but few of his Christian friends consulted with the Spirit in making their plans!

“What he conveyed was that we have both within us and with us every moment of our day, the guiding force of God in the form of the Holy Spirit; a force we should mobilize in our lives.”

While Zeb was frustrated with his overly long question/sermonette, I was amazed. After sitting in theology classrooms for the better part of the last seven years, I had never heard a better explanation of the value of the Holy Spirit. What he conveyed was that we have both within us and with us every moment of our day, the guiding force of God in the form of the Holy Spirit; a force we could mobilize to help us with our lives.

“His point was, we should bring the Holy Spirit into our daily lives.”

Plainspoken and exactly on point! How many of us consult with the Spirit when we make our daily plans? How many of us search with the Spirit to resolve difficult issues? How many know that the Spirit is one of the three parts of the Trinity that is God? We often speak about God the creator or Jesus, but the Spirit is usually left in the back. The cowboy’s point was bring the Spirit into our lives.

In the book of Acts on the final day of the Pentecost, the Spirit descended, as promised earlier by Jesus. The purpose was to be both with us and within us. Many times when we pray we feel our prayers change subtly from what we first desired. Events in our lives will occur that could only be those unusual things of God. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. On the fiftieth day after the resurrection the Spirit descended for humankind, the day now called the Pentecost.

So why not listen to this rambling cowpoke from southern Idaho. Shouldn’t we try to ask the Holy Spirit to not only approve our plans, but also help create our plans.? I am sure we should. Maybe for me that day I was getting a new lesson in life from the Spirit through a plain spoken cowboy from southern Idaho.

Praise the Spirit who helps with all things!

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

(John 4:24)

TRUTHFUL PRAYER STRENGTHENS OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD

Our prayers are our way of talking with God through Jesus. They are our way of creating and growing a stronger personal relationship with God. Over time it becomes a deep mutual partnership in our lives. As with any relationship, we must approach it with complete honesty. For this relationship to become strong, a high degree of mutuality and truth must be present. The relationship with God is sacred. Jesus tells us, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

“Being truthful strengthens our partnership with God.”

If we want to have reliable relationships, it must come from a spirit of being truthful. So, it is with God as well. When we communicate with God, our goal should be of taking responsibility for our actions and to be truthful. Being truthful strengthens our partnership with God. Our mirror is then always pointed to ourselves. However, when we simply deflect difficult conversations back to God, we are not really searching for the truth, we are searching for an easier way out of difficulty.

When we pray, truthful admissions help our prayers. When we only point our problems back to God, we disrupt the relationship. Sure, God wants to hear our anguish, joys, and concerns, but God also wants us to be a partner. God has plans for us that require our active involvement.

“Our Prayers are our direct line to God through Jesus.”

Prayer life is the essential part of building faith. It requires daily persistence, patience and truthfulness. No one’s faith can be built without these ingredients. Prayer that is Biblically based will be fundamentally sound. Our Prayers are our direct line to God through Jesus. We will see answers, not in only in human terms, but through miraculous events that are so extraordinary and personal, we know they are from God. We will move from seeing things as random, to an answer from God. Through a productive prayer life our faith is strengthened, and we are healed through our continuous dialogue with God.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Davide Cantelli

“Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

—John 5:19–20

FAITH THAT OVERCOMES ALL ODDS

Jesus has returned to his current home in Capernaum. A great crowd gathered in and around the house. So many, that even the front door was blocked. At the same time, four friends had heard about Jesus’ arrival and picked up their paralyzed friend to take him to Jesus. They arrived too late to get into the house and found every entrance blocked. They knew in their hearts there had to be a way to bring their friend to Jesus. They persistently studied the house and began to debate the best method.

After some discussion, they decided to go to the roof of the house and create a hole, which would allow them to lower their friend into the house. They climbed to the top of the roof and began to remove parts of the roof just above Jesus. When they had removed enough material to make a hole, they lowered their friend into the house. Immediately, Jesus saw the man and looked up to see the faces of his four friends expectantly looking back at him. Jesus saw in their faces a persistent faith of trust and hope. He immediately said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

Upon hearing this, the religious leaders in the crowd began to question the authority Jesus had taken in forgiving the man. Jesus responded by saying, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?” To demonstrate his divine authority, Jesus says to the paralyzed friend of the four, “Stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” Immediately, the man stood up and went home. (Mark 2:8–12)

“A simple act driven by their hearts and full of compassion, was rewarded by Jesus, who saw in their faces a trusting faith.”

Four friends knew in their faith-filled hearts that Jesus could help their friend. When blocked, they responded with a faithful ingenuity and found a way. A way that changed the course of a life. A simple act driven by their hearts and full of compassion, was rewarded by Jesus, who saw in their faces a trusting and persistent faith.

“Our hearts sense when our neighbors are in need, and when we reach out we can change the course of their lives.”

There are those times in our lives when we must lift up our neighbors, when they cannot lift themselves. Maybe through providing a meal, or a ride, perhaps a prayer that is filled with a deep sense of compassion for our neighbor. Our hearts sense when our neighbors are in need, and when we reach out, we can change the course of their lives. Our compassion for others and a persistent and trusting faith create a powerful healing.

These are among those times in our lives when we cross over to the threshold of believing and knowing that the solution requires a persistent faith. A faith that relies on and trusts beyond what we physically see, to what is unseen. They are times when we know that the next step requires an unusual persistence in our efforts. Obstacles may seem too high, but our faith drives us to carry on. We know our efforts may result in our momentary suffering. It is in this spot, that we should not give up but should persevere.

The apostle Paul describes this persistent faith and how it generates hope, in Romans 5:3–5: “We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” In this brief statement, Paul describes the process of building a persistent faith. A faith that requires us to share with God the results we hope for; not to sit back and wait for our hopeful outcomes, but to work persistently with God. We then have the firmness of a faith that is sure that our honorable efforts, regardless of the hurdles we face, will be answered.

The four men were successful in getting their friend healed because they were sure their persistent efforts of compassion would be answered. They worked around the obstacles that stood in front of them and pressed on. Jesus, seeing this, healed their friend.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

– Matthew 9:10-11

LESSONS FROM A PERSISTENT WIDOW

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a persistent widow. He starts the story by telling those around him, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’” (Luke 18:2–3)

Widows in the first century had few rights or resources. Losing your husband and not having family to support you, was a sentence of poverty and helplessness. There was no Social Security or other societal safety net. Widows were essentially helpless. To survive, they had to be persistent and tough. Jesus picks the widow, one of the lowest of society, to demonstrate that a persistent faith will prevail against even the toughest of circumstances.

The widow in the story Jesus tells us about in Luke has been wronged by an unnamed opponent. In her town, the judge was corrupt and only cared about his position of power. He had little interest in God or his neighbors and this was the only place of recourse for the widow; a corrupt judge who showed little interest in her or in doing right. Day after day, she showed up in his court to ask for justice. Day after day, this justice was denied. Finally, after many days of this, the judge said to himself, “I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” (Luke 18:5)

Jesus talks about this woman in the Parable of the Persistent Widow. He uses the figure of a widow to highlight the value of being persistent, even when we feel powerless. The judge in the story is the symbol of a society that moved along its daily course, considering nothing but its daily route. Lost are people like the widows because they were not part of that route.

Jesus’ point in telling this story is that our persistent faith in achieving an honorable outcome, even in the face of the evil, will produce results. He asks at the end of the story, “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. (Luke 18:7–8)

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Jade

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

– Matthew 9:10-11

WHOSE TRIBE SHOULD WE BELONG TO?

At the end of a long hike, my wife Connie, and I visited a waterfall. Our treat for completing our trek. As I sat down, I placed my backpack next to me and began to pull out an apple for hard earned nourishment. Much to my surprise, I was immediately surrounded by a swarm of Yellow Jackets. I took my hat off to defend myself, but there were too many and both myself and Connie were stung. It was an angry mob of bees and I received at least five stings. We scurried away, wondering what we had done to cause such a stir. Later upon reflection, I concluded that I had unwittingly placed my back pack on the hole above their underground nest.

The bees were just doing what their instincts told them to do, they don’t have the mental ability to parcel out in their mind, real danger or an innocent person. They are programmed to just attack. It is what bees do when they perceive a threat. They have a button that goes off and they respond.

I also find this today with our politics, economic theories and social groupings. We form around like people and begin to say like things. Over time we morph into a collective group or tribe that no longer accepts outside input and attacks when new input arrives. Sometimes the attacks are worse than the fury of wronged bees.

When we hear something different than what we think, should we be like an angry mob of bees and automatically hit our pre-recorded responses in reply? Should we stop to think about the other person’s perspective and how they arrived at their opinion, even if It is different and threatening? The more comfort we have in the power of our group, the more resistant we are to new thoughts. New ideas are not welcome.

In the first century, the Pharisees were a group in charge and full of power. Over time that had twisted the ten commandments to support their beliefs and legalistically lorded themselves over the average Judean. Any attempt to have a different view point turned them into an angry mob, like my bees. They stung and they hurt.

When Jesus arrived, he did not choose any group to belong to, he chose all humankind, even the poor and the lowly tax collector. Jesus wasn’t about to join any tribe, he wanted to be near all and hear every story, even those called by the Pharisees, as sinners! Whose only crime may have been to have a different opinion.

Bees and tribes can sting. They can act without thinking about why they act. They become no more than a furious and angry mob. Not willing to stop and hear another point of view. A need to protect their status quo, as opposed to find the truth. No group is exempt and all groups have the same connecting fiber of a place of power for the individual who joins.

Jesus, only wants us to join one tribe, humankind. Regardless if they were polo shirts or have tattoo’s or are poor or are any other defining characteristics. We are all God’s people, even the Pharisees. Heck, even angry bees are God’s creatures.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by rawpixel

“Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

—John 5:19–20

WHAT OUGHT WE TO DO?

Each day we have to make decisions with multiple paths we can take, some right and some wrong. At these crossroads we are confronted with which path we ought to take. In the world of ethics, the critical word is “ought.” Essentially, when we are confronted with a difficult situation, our mind asks us, What ought I do? It can be a simple question, like Should I hold the door for the other person? Should I stop and help a person in distress, even though I have a lot of errands to run? Or on a different scale, we are confronted with Should I tell my boss or the CEO that what my company is doing is wrong? I see a manufacturing defect that no one will notice, should I tell someone? Each day we are confronted with these questions repeatedly. Each day we must make these personal decisions. Each day our lives are a class on ethics. What ought we to do?

“Being bold in our faith leads us to do what God would have us do.”

Beyond the ethics of doing the right thing, we must also show faith by having the courage to do the right thing. If we truly believe and have faith in the unseen, then we will not hesitate to do those “right” things, even if doing so might put us at some personal risk. Being bold in our faith leads us to do what God would have us do. A faith that if we choose a path for the right reasons, we have done “what we ought to do.”

When we bring Jesus into our thought process, ethics turn into Christian ethics. We then begin to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Sounds simple, but it is not. Competing with what Jesus would do is our natural selves. We need to pay our bills. We need to earn a living in order to do that. We want our worldly needs satisfied. Sometimes these needs will conflict with what Jesus would have us do.

I know a woman named Beth, who was homeless and fighting hard to regain her footing, so she could raise her child in a home like she saw other mothers do. She worked at a local Dunkin’ Donuts in a job that sometimes had her scraping gum off the bottom of the tables. Her boss was abusive and ranted at her throughout her shift. Each day she went back to her shelter with a little more money to get her freedom. On the Christmas Eve of her one-year journey in homelessness she left work and found a woman in the parking lot who was in need. It was a dark, rainy night, and the woman had not recently eaten and was rummaging in the trash bin behind the store. With what she had earned in tips that day, Beth took the woman into Dunkin’ Donuts and bought her a meal. She sat with the woman and listened to her story. On that rainy Christmas Eve, she drove back to her shelter wondering if she had done enough for the woman.

Beth eventually got an apartment and left her job, to work at a better place. The next fall she was able to put her child on a school bus for her first day of school. She was able to go to a job where she was respected. She continued to wonder if she had done enough on that Christmas Eve.

“We should walk on our path of faith, to explore the length and breadth of our inheritance. An inheritance that will lead us to the right answer.”

Deciding what we ought to do seems complicated, but Jesus gives us a simple blueprint when he says, “but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” Regardless of our natural circumstances, Jesus tells us to act in a manner that we envision how God would act. He asks us to act without fear of loss, but through our hearts. We should not overly ponder the event, but to let our knowledge of God through our heart tell us what we “ought” to do. We should walk on our path of faith, to explore the length and breadth of our inheritance. An inheritance that will lead us to the right answer.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

“In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

 

– Acts 20:35

SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS TELL A BIGGER STORY

After Hurricane Florence which created havoc around my community in coastal Carolina, our local thrift store that supports hospice care was turned into a depository for goods to help those who had lost everything. In the past, Connie and I had dropped off items to help them. The people who took the items were pleasant and engaging. The store was orderly and cheery.

On this day soon after the storm, we decided to donate more. As I drove into the parking lot, I noticed a large amount of people looking for goods. Far more people than usual  that day. I drove to the back, where goods are dropped off and to the two women who handle the intake of clothes, furniture and other household items. They looked haggard and tired. They had been working around the clock.

Despite their weariness they helped unload my pick-up truck loaded with items. After, I stopped to talk and thank them for volunteering. I mentioned the crowds and asked were they getting enough donations to help solve the need of these people. They replied, “We are receiving more items than that what is being taken. Our back warehouse is jammed!”

As I reflected on this later in the day, it finally hit me what these two wonderful women had just told me. More gave then took! What did it mean? It was symbolic of a belief I have long held, that despite the news stories of violence, scams and calamity; goodness abounds. We don’t see it because It just isn’t news worthy. These two women will never be on the news or radio. In their place will be stories about the worse side of humanity. Good news and  good people don’t sell ads.

But here it was in front of me that day with empirical proof. Good far outweighs evil. Humankind is far more generous than credited. Humankind knows what Jesus said, , ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ In my heart I have always known this, but never before had I received such concrete proof.

In the quiet people, like these two women,  they give because it is their desire to help. Not looking for praise, just to help. They are motivated by the purest of all intent’s, an empathetic heart. But they are not the only ones, it is also the people who silently drove in to help their neighbors. These people wouldn’t raise gas prices when it was scarce or charge higher hotel prices when the displaced grew in numbers. They give and care. You won’t see these people on the nightly news, but they exist in large volumes in our neighborhoods and across the country. They are the real definition of humankind. They are God’s people.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Josh Edgoose