The other day a friend of mine in Florida posted the following statement as his Facebook status:
"For my birthday this year I want to do something for someone else. I want donate my time, money or both to feeding or clothing the less fortunate."
My friend Justin is a man I don't know that well. We worked together in Crystal River, Florida, a couple of years ago. In fact, when he received a promotion I was fortunate enough to move into his position. But I never spent any time with him away from work. He's really more of an acquaintance than a true friend.
Justin is an interesting character to say the least. He's big - about 6'3" or 6'4", heavy set, and somewhat quiet if you don't know him well. He's a very serious man at work - all about business. Oh, he has his fun moments but as I said - if you don't know him well you'd think he never laughed and barely smiled when he's working. That was my impression, anyway.
Don't get me wrong - I've always known Justin was a good guy - even if he is difficult to get acquainted with. I don't want anyone to think I'm necessarily surprised by what he did. I'm not surprised but I am impressed. I'm learning there is a side to Justin that I don't know at all. His statement above showed me that. And the fact that he followed up on it and is making good on what he said just verifies it. Yesterday, Justin went out and bought canned goods, kitchen items, laundry items, etc., in bulk, and is taking them to a local shelter for domestic abuse this morning. Today is his birthday and instead of making it about him he's doing exactly what he said - sharing what he has with those who are less fortunate.
Unless something has changed Justin is not a rich man - at least financially. But I'm guessing as of this morning Justin is far more wealthy in spirit and definitely in kindness through his act of selflessness. What an inspirational thing it is to give to others without expecting anything in return. I got to experience that same feeling a few years ago when I went to a homeless shelter on New Year's Day and helped serve meals to hundreds of homeless and downtrodden citizens of Miami.
Thank you, Justin, for reminding me that doing things for others is important not just at Christmas but every day.
This Christmas I would challenge any of you who are able to do something for someone you don't know. Christmas is about receiving life through the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ but it's also about giving - giving of gifts, of love, of money, of your time. Often the most heartfelt gift can be that of simply giving your time to a charity or organization that can use the help.
After all, it was Jesus Himself who said "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."