Doing the right thing when no one is watching

“God is Watching.”  –sign over the door of Gwen Williams’ home in Picayune, Mississippi.

Longtime United Methodist Pastor John Ed Mathiston told his congregation in Montgomery, Alabama a story about kindness.

“Not long ago, a man from the Middle East walked into a new car showroom and asked to speak with a particular salesperson.  The receptionist called for him, the fellow walked to the front, and they greeted each other.

The foreigner said, “I’d like to buy some trucks.”

Some trucks. That caught the sales guy’s attention.

“What did you have in mind, sir?”

“I want to buy 750 heavy duty trucks and 250 pickups.”

The salesman is stunned.  Surely someone is pulling a prank.  This cannot be happening.

The Middle Easterner pulls out a letter of credit with a huge American bank.  It is legitimate. This is the real deal.

The salesman says, “Sir, you know you can go to Detroit and buy those trucks at a huge discount.”

The customer said, ”Sir, ten years ago I was a college student in your city.  Being from the Middle East made it hard for Americans to befriend me.  I soon discovered you have to have a car in America, so I came to you.  I picked out a car.  You said to me, ‘I can sell you that car and I’ll make a nice commission. But you would not be happy with it.  It’s more car than you need.’ So you sold me a smaller car.  It was the nicest thing anyone in America had ever done for me.  And I decided I would repay you when I got a chance.  So, I want to buy one thousand trucks through you.”

Sometimes small acts of kindness reap great rewards.  But whether they do or do not, doing right is always the right thing to do.

Historians tell us that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto studied and traveled in America in the 1920s.  He was once turned away from a San Francisco barber shop because he was Japanese.  And he never forgot the slight.  In 1941 and for two years after, he oversaw Japan’s attacks on the United States, at Pearl Harbor and beyond. (He was killed while flying over the Pacific during the war.)

We may assume the barber went home that day without a clue as to the chain of events he had just triggered.  (Or at least, contributed to.)  Just a small thing, showing prejudice to someone with no power.  Surely nothing would ever come from that.  He’d done it countless times.

Showing kindness or acting with malice–just a small thing.  And in most cases, it goes unnoticed.

But the Heavenly Father sees. And it matters to Him.

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