On a spring day in Pennsylvania, a poor boy was selling goods to pay his way through school. The year was 1863, and the boy was going door-to-door to meet his goal. While traveling through the countryside, he became hungry. He only had a dime left, so he decided to ask for food at the next house.
However, he lost his nerve to ask the young woman who answered the door for a meal. Instead, he asked for a drink of water. Thinking he looked hungry, the woman brought him a large glass of milk. After he slowly savored the nourishment, he asked her, “How much do I owe you?”
The young woman replied, “You don’t owe me anything. Our mother taught us never to accept payment for a kindness.”
The boy said, “Then, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
As the young man walked away, he not only felt physically stronger, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up.
A kindness returned
Years later, the young woman became critically ill. Baffled by her illness, local doctors sent her to a big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
A Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. Hearing the name of the town she came from, Kelly approached her hospital room where he recognized her as the woman who had been kind to him those many years ago.
Determined to do his best to save her life, Dr. Kelly returned to the consultation room where, from that day, he gave special attention to her case. While it was a long struggle for the ill woman, the battle was finally won.
Dr. Kelly asked the business office to send the final billing to him. Looking it over, he wrote something on the edge of the bill.
When the bill was sent to the woman, she was afraid to open it. She just knew it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. When she finally opened the envelope, the words written on the side of the bill grabbed her attention. She read the following words: “Paid in full with one glass of milk.”
Paid in full with His life
Another man, the Son of God, paid in full with His life so that we might have eternal life. When Jesus walked the earth, He exemplified kindness. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, chased out demons from the possessed, fed the multitudes with a small boy’s offering and left behind hope wherever he went.
What does God expect of us? Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
In our walk, let us strive to be kind to everyone we meet. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted (Aesop).
(Note: Dr. Howard Kelly was a distinguished physician. In 1895, he founded the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.)