Sep 20, 2018

Suitcoats and Genes

Several months ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend and I noticed that two older gentlemen were talking about me. I acknowledge their conversation and asked what they were talking about.

“He likes your suitcoat”; one of them replied, referring to a blue colored plaid suitcoat that I was wearing.

I asked him if he wanted it; taking it off and handing it to him.

He said, “Where did you get it from?”

I told him that my wife Cathy worked at a thrift store.

He said; “Oh, I can’t take it then; what would you wife say?”

I told him that Cathy would have a harder time if I DIDN’T give it to him knowing that he liked it.

I once again offered it to him and told him to take it. Once again, he declined so I put it back on, returned to my table, and went on with my meal and my conversation with my friend.

About ten minutes later, the man came over to me and made a comment about how much he really liked the coat.

I once again I took off my coat and offered it to him and told him to take it.

Once again, he declined. Instead he told me his name was Gene and gave me a business card. On the back of the card he had written his name, phone number, and address. He lived about a mile from my house.

We shook hands and he departed with his friend.

I put the coat back on, placing the card in one of the pockets, returned to my table, and went on with my meal and my conversation with my friend.

When I returned home after the meal, Cathy was having a small party with some of her sisters so I didn’t get a chance to talk with her until later about the suit.

She confirmed that I it would have been good to give away the suitcoat. My intention was to deliver the suit to his house in the next week or so.

Needless to say, because I didn’t do it right away, I forgot about the card until some time a few months later when I found the card in the pocket.
I placed the card in my Day-Timer so that I would put it on my short-list of things to do.

Unfortunately, life became full and I once again forgot about the card; that is until recently.

I made it a priority of things to do this week and set about to take care of it.

Well, today was the day to deliver the suitcoat to Gene so I grabbed it and drove to his house.

On the way over, I heard form the Lord that Gene had died. I decided to drive over any way. Once I arrived, I noticed that the yard had the appearance of someone moving out.

When I opened up the screen door to knock on the door, I saw a realtor’s lockbox on the doorknob and I realized that I had heard correctly. I knocked several times any way.

“He’s not here; he died”; I heard someone say. I looked around and saw a neighbor trying to get my attention.

I walked across the street and spoke with the neighbor who told me that Gene had died one month ago; a few days before his eightieth birthday.  He said that a realtor had started cleaning out the house to put it on the market to sell.

I thanked him and drove back home realizing that I had missed an opportunity to give. I cried for Gene.
And then I thought of another Gene; my father-in-law (who died in 2007).

“My” Gene was a ‘prompt-to-give’ individual who loved to give lavishly; usually insisting on the beneficiary receiving the gift.

Gene knew that his part was to give. What the beneficiary did with the item or money was really up to them. He simply needed to do what he was told to do.

 “So, let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Once again, realizing that I had missed an opportunity to give, I cried for Gene.

Today, as opportunities for you to be generous present themselves, DON’T WAIT! Tomorrow may never come and you will be stuck holding the very things that the Lord wanted you to give away.

This includes many things such as time, money, possessions, resources.

It also includes simple gifts of cooking a meal, or giving extra produce, or giving someone a ride.

It also includes making time for ‘interruptions’ such as phone calls, drop-ins, and prayer requests; both urgent and recurring.
It also includes asking for and offering forgiveness…taking time to make amends…

It also includes sharing your faith with others.

DON’T ASSUME that you have one more day; you may not…

And He (Jesus) said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-22)

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.