We Will Be Remembered By Our Deeds
When you’re having a bad day, you can sometimes start to feel like nothing you do matters. When you step back and look at how big the world is, you may start to think, “I’m just one person out of billions. What kind of difference can I really make?” But one of the most amazing things about this world is that, as big as it is, even the little things can have a huge impact.
God knows and loves each one of us individually. And He wants us to love each other in the same way. Obviously, we can’t know every single person in the world like He does. But we can certainly have an impact on the people we do meet. And small acts of kindness can have a much larger side effects than you may realize. The following story that was shared on Little Things is just one example of how one person’s actions can change several lives.
“I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes when I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and a boy next to me.
Mr. Miller: Hello Barry, how are you today?
Barry: H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.
Mr. Miller: They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?
Barry: Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.
Mr. Miller: Good. Anything I can help you with?
Barry: No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.
Mr. Miller: Would you like to take some home?
Barry: No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ‘em with.
Mr. Miller: Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?
Barry: All I got’s my prize marble here.
Mr. Miller: Is that right? Let me see it.
Barry: Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.
Mr. Miller: I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is red and I sort of go for blue. Do you have a blue one like this at home?
Barry: Not zackley but almost.
Mr. Miller: Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that blue marble.
Barry: Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their blue marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like blue after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.
Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon arrival at the mortuary, we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts — all very professional looking.
They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty brown eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about,’ she said. ‘They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size….they came to pay their debt. We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho …’
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined blue marbles.”
I hope this story helped to remind you that what we do matters. Big or small, we can change people’s lives, even those of strangers. You never know when God may decide to use you. Keep your heart open, because while you’re changing someone else’s life, they might just be changing yours too!
What happened to this mom at the grocery store has me all misty!