“Nana, I’m going to tell you something, but before I do, I want you to promise you won’t try to give me money or anything, I just want to tell you something I did last night.” These are the words I heard from my grandson, Bryson, who just turned 17 years old this week.
My mind was trying to figure out what was to come next so that I didn’t react, I couldn’t imagine what he had done that would make me feel he needed money. And I made no promises, I kept quiet and listened. He kept talking.
He just started work at a local grocery store. He said the night before, while he was working as a cashier an older lady came through his line. He said when she processed her card it declined. When she checked her balance, she found she only had $80 available, and her groceries were almost $300. He said she began putting things back to lessen the bill. He said, “Nana, she wasn’t putting back any extras, she was having to put back food and toilet paper and stuff she really needed.” He went on to say, “Nana, I couldn’t take it anymore, I knew I had $30 in my wallet, so I was going to give that to her, but when I opened my wallet I had the rest of my birthday money, so I paid it all on her groceries.”
“How much did you pay, Bryson?” He looked me in the eye and said, “$130.” That is a lot of money for a teenager, more than a week’s pay for him. I had no words. He went on to tell me that the lady thought a lot of her stuff had been put back and taken off her bill, but instead of it being put back, he paid for it so she would get it all.
I asked, “Bryson, do you have any more cash for work tonight?” He said, “No, I used all I had.” I then said, “Buddy, please let me give you some cash.” He responded, “No Nana, I just couldn’t let her put all her stuff back, she needed it, and she was helping to feed her grandkids, you would never let us go hungry.”
Part of me was so proud of this young man. I knew he had been saving that money for some things he wanted and had waited for his birthday to get the amount he needed. The other part of me didn’t want him to be without some cash for the work week. However, I stayed silent. I know the principles of the Bible. We can’t give without God giving back, I had to trust God to do what His Word says He will do.
He kept talking. He said, “Nana, I have seen you and Mom do that a bunch of times.” He reminded me that we paid for groceries at a local store once for a family that didn’t have enough. He reminded me of a day we gave a waitress who was having a hard time a $100 tip. He went on and on with examples of giving that he had seen us do in the past.
Proverbs 22:6, in the New Living Translation, says, direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
In a world where many people believe the younger generation are lost and selfish – and perhaps that is true for some – there are still good, generous, caring, selfless young people out there sharing love. Giving even when it cost all they have.
Not only did that woman encounter the heart of God that night through his generous act, but he didn’t even let her know he did it. She wouldn’t know until she got home and unloaded her groceries. I can’t imagine how she must have felt at that moment, thinking many of her groceries had been put back, to find they were right there. It had to have taken a weight off her.
I remember once when I was going through a very difficult time many years ago. I told my friend, “If I could just get one thing off me, I know I could press on through.” That night my friend prayed and ask God to put money in her hands to take one thing off me. The next day that money was put in her hand, and she immediately brought it to me. The following day someone put the same amount back in her hands. God blessed us both. God has a way of meeting our need in ways we least expect it. Who would expect a seventeen-year-old to meet their need in the grocery store?
Friends, our kids and grandkids are watching us. They will either learn to be kind, and generous or they will learn to be self-centered. And they will learn it from us. Teach your children to display the love of God. Teach your children to care about the needs of others instead of being critical and judgmental. And teach them to be givers. God loves a cheerful giver and I know He is so proud of Bryson right now. I know I am. This grandmother’s heart is overflowing tonight. Yes, a big part of me wants to sneak some cash into his wallet, but the God part of me knows the faithfulness of my Father. He will take care of Bryson. Of that, I am sure.
Have we taught our children to love? Have they seen us love? Today, may we direct them in the way they should go. May we lead by example, believing when they are older, they will not leave the way they have been taught. That’s a great promise, don’t you think?