By now most people know Glen James’ story (if not, click here). I am proud to live in Dorchester, the place where the media’s spotlight has been shining due to the actions of a man who did the right thing. Mr. James found a bag with $2,000 in cash and almost $40,000 in traveler’s checks and immediately turned the contents over to the police. When news of his deed was made public, Mr. James was honored by police and a fund was established online to assist this ‘good Samaritan’ in his own time of need; you see, Mr. James, the possessor of close to $42,000 for a moment, has been homeless for a number of years.
It is wonderful to hear accounts of people who are rewarded for doing good and not simply doing good to be rewarded. Wouldn’t it be nice if more people simply did what was right because it is the right thing to do, never asking what would be in it for them? Unfortunately, my eyes are drawn to just the opposite: people doing the wrong thing because they have no incentive to do what is right. There are cars driving the wrong way down the one-way street we live on because they are in a hurry, shoppers cutting in line at Tedeschi’s because they are just buying one thing, and culprits who walk off with whatever is left out that cannot be nailed down. We cheer when we read reports of people like Glen James because we long for all people to act as he did.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Glen James is a great example of Biblical truth. He did not weary of doing good and he is now reaping a harvest: what began as a modest reward through the efforts of a stranger has blossomed into a blessing because of the generosity of thousands across the country to the point where the hope is that the funds raised to honor this homeless man’s altruism will be sufficient for him to purchase a home. What about you? What about me? Have we given in to bitterness and battle fatigue? Have we been worn out by this culture of selfishness that we’ve given up doing good and acting right? Have we forgotten that when the time is right we will see the abundant fruit of our labors? I’m not foolish enough to believe that if I bring to the attention of the barista that I received the wrong change that I will be given a gift card for my honesty, but I am faith-filled enough to know that the one who reigns over the universe sees even the smallest deed of righteousness and will – somehow, somewhere, some day – bring blessing through it.
Maybe I’ll go over to South Bay Shopping Center this afternoon and look around. Maybe I’ll find a bag of cash and traveler’s checks. Maybe I’ll find a homeless man in need of assistance. Whatever I find, I hope I’m found doing the right and good thing simply because it is the right and good thing to do. I hope I find you there doing that, too.