A Matter of Faith: A random act of kindness

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    By Jan Davis
    Special to The PREVIEW

    Glynn scanned the street from his living room window before the florist van pulled into the driveway. Every Sunday like clockwork, the driver delivered a boutonniere. No card or hint as to the benefactor.

    Glynn awaited the arrival of the intricate piece of art before he selected the rest of his attire. Suit, shirt and tie accentuated the tiny flower pinned to his lapel.

    Money was too tight as the pastor of a small Pentecostal church in rural Oklahoma to indulge in such niceties as boutonnieres. But, oh how Glynn loved them. His taste often succeeded his pocketbook and this small gift boosted his spirit and encouraged him to keep doing God’s work.

    He stood at the pulpit and scanned the small congregation and tried to guess the source of this gracious act. The list consisted of a conglomeration of farmers, ranchers and young suburban families. Like the pastor, they struggled to make ends meet.

    Farmers and ranchers depended on the weather and prices received from cattle or crops to sustain them from year to year. They created their budget at the start of each year and made quarterly withdrawals. In a rough year, bank loans kept them fluid until after harvest, or cattle were rounded up and sold. Their tithes fluctuated with the unpredictable weather.

    Farmers didn’t appreciate flowers and such. They preferred steak and potatoes and often invited their pastor to Sunday dinner -— an invitation Glynn seldom turned down.

    Those with young families worked two jobs to meet the demands of growing children. They lived paycheck to paycheck and prayed the car didn’t break down or one of the kids required an emergency trip to the hospital. They were faithful in giving and God supplied their need. They loved to bless Glynn with batches of homemade cookies rather than flowers that withered and died.

    He perused the morning crowd. There were a couple of wealthy members in the church, but he doubted he was the recipient of their kindness. They lived in large houses and drove nice cars but failed to see the dire condition of the church parsonage. 

    They parked close to the front door and entered with the pomp and circumstance of royalty. With smiles plastered on their faces, they waved, shook hands or nodded at members and walked down the center isle to one of the velvet-cushioned pews to claim their self-appointed reserved places each week. This was their contribution to the sanctuary.

    Also, they contributed the choir robes as a “gift” with a price tag attached. The purchase guaranteed their spot in the choir, solo parts and song choices.

    Glynn did not like to judge and maybe they meant well, but he couldn’t see them spending money on something so small. They relished large and expensive objects. The baby grand off to his right confirmed his opinion of their generosity.

    He may never find out who blessed him on Sunday mornings with a random act of kindness, but he sure wanted to.

    A smile crept across Cheryl’s face as Pastor Glynn walked to the pulpit. A small yellow rose rested on the lapel of his suit coat. The shirt and tie blended well with the soft pastel petals.

    A few months earlier, a silly idea popped into her head. Surprise her pastor with a boutonniere on Sunday. She recruited her friend at the flower shop to help.

    Cheryl and her husband lived in a modest home in a neighborhood of tract homes. They worked hard to provide for their young children and struggled like their friends from paycheck to paycheck.

    Cheryl worked at the elementary school as a cook and, on weekends, she manned the counter at MacDonald’s. At the end of the week, she gathered up loose change and drove to the florist before the shop closed on Saturday. She didn’t want to leave a paper trail and never signed the card. A generous act of kindness concealed from the world, but not from God.

    She heard the pastor ask others for hints, even asked her once. She simply smiled. “A secret is a secret.”

    Years passed and without fail, the little flower appeared. The person responsible for this intentional act of kindness remained nameless long after Glynn accepted a position out of state.

    “Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury.” — Mark 12:43 (NKJV).

    I love you, but Jesus loves you more.