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The preacher and his kindness
Dixie Diva
ronda rich
Ronda Rich is the author of Theres a Better Day a-Comin. - photo by File photo

A much-appreciated kindness was given to me a few months ago. Someone recognized my need for help and made a big effort to give it to me.

There is a house that I have rented out for several years that has wonderful tenants who pay promptly and rarely bother me. But things break, so there was a rather serious and expensive repair required. I sighed heavily when I heard because of the expense, but that would turn out to be the easier piece of the solution. Finding someone to do the repair at a fair price would be the most difficult.

My first call was to a man who had done work for me for years. He is dependable, fair and reasonably priced.

“I’d be glad to do it for you but I’m working out of state on some new houses. I’m covered up,” he said.

He gave me suggestions for others who could possibly do it but they either wouldn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t. A couple could and would but the price was two or three times what I had been advised was fair. After a month of worry, work and getting nowhere, I called my friend back. I was in despair, and he could tell. He is a sweet, gentle man so he sighed quietly.

“OK. I’ll come do it for you. Just give me a week to get to a place where I can take off and come down.”

Moments earlier, I was near tears of despair, but his promise brought me close to tears of gratitude. I think of something often, and it is this: We all look around for those who are homeless, without food or children in need of Christmas but often we overlook others who can afford shelter, food and clothing, yet have other problems. We tend not to think of them as being in need, so we don’t reach out to help. That was me.

As promised, he came to my rescue and gave to me a kindness that I shall remember always. This nice man is also a layman preacher, meaning he works for a living during the week and preaches for the Lord on Sunday at a tiny church where he is pastor. My daddy was a man like that, so I have an affinity and understanding for men who carry such a weight on their shoulders.

When I mailed the check for the repair, I enclosed checks — love offerings — from Tink and me. I wrote a note and said, “You have blessed me with your kindness, so we want to give a blessing back to your church so that y’all can give blessings to others.”

He pastors a tiny white clapboard church that sits amidst towering hardwoods that stand as evidence that the building has been there for a while. It has a gravel parking lot which, on Sundays, will be scattered with a dozen or so cars and trucks. Years ago when it was built, it served a rural country population, but the acreage around it has now given way to large, expensive homes. The affluent people in those big houses prefer mega-churches and sanctuaries with large choirs, bands and fancy lighting. It is hard for these little country churches to sustain but, with great heart, they carry on.

We sent the checks and forgot them until a couple of weeks later, when a greeting card arrived. I opened it, then sank down on the stairs to read it carefully. It was a thank-you card from that small church and it was signed by each member of the tiny congregation, including a child who had printed her name. Nothing has ever meant more. Our hearts were profoundly touched.

The moral of this story is simple: There are people and churches in need of kindness and generosity. We can each be a blessing in meaningful ways. Just look around.

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