No. 517 Jim Davidson Ð NEWSPAPER COLUMN


If you ever get to thinking that you are someone who is really important, I would like to invite you to conduct a little experiment that will place things in the proper perspective. Just get a bucket of water and stick your hand down in it all the way to the bottom. Now, without removing your hand, slosh it around and really cause it to stir. Now, take your hand out. The hole that's left is some measure of how much you will be missed, by most folks, after a few weeks or months have gone by. Of course we are all important in the eyes of God, and He is the only one who really counts.

Almost every day I get letters from readers from somewhere in our country. I am grateful for each one and, while it may take a little time, I try to personally respond to each one. It is such a blessing to hear from each person who has taken their valuable time to write, and the vast majority are very encouraging. However, every once in a while I do hear from someone who takes me to task over some column or position I have taken. These letters hurt, but even here I try to learn something and respond to these as well. Everyone has a right to their opinion and I do my best to always respect that.

Many of you readers share your heart, but also things that are worthy to pass along. I try to be selective and only use those that contain a moral or a principal that I believe will help you in some way. None of us has a corner on the market of good ideas, and as long as they are not copyrighted I am delighted to pass them along. The other day a friend sent me a "true"story that gets to the very heart of who we are as an individual. The bottom line is that we all need help, like the man in prison who wrote me this week, and another reader who wanted a copy of a previous column, and another from a school curriculum coordinator who was looking for a speaker.

Here is a story about a man who is a little more humble now: "I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get off work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would call a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes and no money. There are times when you feel generous, but there are other times when you just don't want to be bothered, and this was one of those times.

I hope he doesn't ask me for money," I thought. He didn't. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop, but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few minutes he spoke. "That''s a very pretty car," he said. He was ragged, but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard kept more than his face warm. I said, "Thanks," and continued wiping off my car. He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "Ask him if he needs any help."

I was sure that he would say "yes," but I held true to the inner voice. "Do you need any help?" I asked. He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. "Don''t we all?" he said. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me. I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a 12-gauge shotgun. Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help, too. No matter how little you have, no matter your problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that. Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets, but maybe he was more than that. Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Hope you will remember those three little words. Don't we all? You can easily judge the character of anyone by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)