A banker always tossed a coin in the cup of a legless beggar who sat on the street outside the bank. But unlike most people, the banker would always insist on getting one of the pencils the man had beside him. “You are a merchant,” the banker would say, “and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants I do business with.”
One day the legless man was not on the sidewalk. Time passed and the banker forgot about him until he walked into a public building one day. There in the concessions stand sat the former beggar, now the owner of his own small business.
“I have always hoped you might come by someday,” the man said to the banker. “You are largely responsible for my being here. You kept telling me that I was a merchant. I started thinking of myself that way, rather than as a beggar receiving gifts. I started selling pencils—lots of them. You gave me self-respect. You caused me to look at myself differently.”
—Retold by Randy Stanford
Susan’s personal problems were enormous. She was dealing with tough issues from her past. Her husband had emotionally withdrawn from her. The family was in financial trouble. Somehow she kept up a good front at work, even though she was thinking of suicide.
Then she received a Christmas card from her boss with these handwritten words: “I don’t know what we’d do without you. Thank you for being so competent and helpful.”
Later she commented, “I framed that card and put it up in my kitchen. It’s like a sign that says, ‘You’re okay!’”
So send that card. Write that note. You may be giving someone just the lift he or she needs.
—David C. Egner
God puts people in our lives on purpose so we can help them succeed and help them become all He created them to be. Most people will not reach their full potential without somebody else believing in them. That means you and I have an assignment. Everywhere we go, we should be encouraging people, building them up, challenging them to reach for new heights. When people are around us, they should leave better off than they were previously. The Bible says that love is kind.1 One translation says, “Love looks for a way of being constructive.”2 In other words, love looks for ways to help improve somebody else’s life.
(Become a Better You, Free Press, New York 2008)