My young family was scheduled to head to the California coast for a nine-day trip which was mostly work-related. It was June and the heat rose in waves off the Interstate 10 asphalt. As we made preparations, I kept worrying about the first afternoon of travel.
Our son's last day of first grade was to end at noon and we planned to drive off across the desert in 110 degree heat. Our 8-year-old Ford station wagon had shown signs of wear and tear and I was growing concerned about it overheating. Long before cell phones, a person could get stuck out on the side of a highway for hours before someone stopped to help. I knew. It had happened to friends. One man lifted the hood of his disabled car and waited as hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of vehicles passed him on that crowded freeway.
I felt that we didn't have any choice but to leap out in faith and start the drive that last day of school. We had booked a room in San Bernardino that night and were due up in the Monterey area the next afternoon. I took care of what maintenance we could do and hoped for the best.
Those were our circumstances on Sunday, a few days before we left. Church services went on asusual that day, but afterward I was approached by Mark and Sue, a couple in our church. They asked about our trip, including a question about our old car. I told them the plan and they looked at me with smiles on their faces. "Would you accept it if we lent our our van?" Sue asked.
I was taken aback. They had a brand-new conversion van, loaded with every option you could imagine. "We want you to take it," added Mark.
A few days later, our little family climbed into a beautiful, cool, spacious van. The kids all fell asleep in the back. Cathy joined them. I set the cruise control, sipped on a large glass of iced tea and listened to the stereo as we crossed the desert.
It wasn't the last time we experienced the generosity of that wonderful couple. Mark is in heaven now, but I smile fondly when I think of his kindness to us.
I'm preaching on generosity this month at Stone Ridge. Could you help me? Tell us about someone whose generosity you have personally experienced.