Acts 11:20-21, 28-29 Some believers who went to Antioch began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord … A prophet named Agabus predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could.
Galatians 1:15 But before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.
Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace … you can’t take credit for this: it is a gift from God.
My heart sank. “You’re kidding, right?” That’s what I thought, though I think I was a little more gracious than that to the Duquesne Incline ticket seller. It wasn’t her fault—I should have researched before spontaneously dragging my three-year-old Caleb and one-year-old Talita up all those steps from the parking lot to the next set of steps to the walkway across to the cars.
The thing is, I had already dragged the kids all the way back down to the car and up again in muggy 90-degree heat after discovering I had forgotten our face masks. Little Talita was soaked in sweat, her hair a sticky mass. Caleb stared at me in unbelief when I told him we wouldn’t be able to ride the Incline after all. I hadn’t realized it was cash only, and the credit card in my pocket had zero value. Nor could I imagine making the round trip again. Obviously, I wasn’t accustomed to riding on public transit, or I would have known about the need for cash.
A woman behind us in line heard my explanation to Caleb. As I turned to start our descent to the parking lot, she said, “Wait. How much do you need?”
“Well, the kids are free. So it’s just me.”
“Five dollars, then, round trip. I can give you five dollars, so the children aren’t disappointed. Let me do this.”
“What? Are you sure? I have no way to pay you back.”
“I’m sure. Here. Enjoy the ride.” Her smile was brilliant.
Ironically, on my way to pick up the kids, I heard on NPR a conversation about research demonstrating the benefits to the giver of showing kindness to others. I hope that was true for our benefactor! What a lovely random act of kindness. Though I might not recognize her again, she will forever occupy a warm place in my heart.
It tickles me to think God experiences joy when he gives to us. In my experience that happens like, all the time. Even when I don’t notice.