The caller began, “Hi, I’m Sherry from Blah-Blah Bank. You stopped in here last week and asked about financial investing, and we have our consultant coming up from the Valley in a week. As she ended the call with, “We’ll see you Friday, Carol, ” I reminded her, “I’m not Carol, but Jo.” She gave me directions and finished, “Okay, well, I look forward to meeting you, Carol.”
When I located the bank by her directions, I saw the only thing it had in common with my bank was the first letter of the name. “Oh, well. It’s free financial advice!” I reasoned.
I checked in with Sherry. She wore a completely blank look. Then I met with the “dressed for success” financial consultant who waved her multi-colored manicured nails in Sherry’s direction and asked for my portfolio. There was none, of course, as I explained that I did not have an account at that bank, but had some questions.
In less than twenty minutes, I felt as flat as a whoopee cushion, and left with the consultant saying, “Thanks, Carol, for coming in!”
In a world that evaluated people only in terms of bank balances and investments, income, assets, and property, the consultant could summarize my portfolio on two Post-its. When Carol and her portfolio showed up, I expect it would be the size of a Phoenix phone book.
Raising twins from diapers to adulthood as a single mom had ravaged my finances. However, the investment left me with two grown sons of whom I am proud for their choices as well as kindness, faithfulness, and patience – all fruits of the Spirit.
As the holiday season explodes with lights, color, and groceries, I challenge you to bulk up your portfolio of compassion and charity. In the Bible and the Greek, the word “charity” is another for agape love–the kind that Jesus modeled. Your financial portfolio is not important. Giving of self is what matters by showing concern for others.
At this time of year when food boxes are more common than green and red M & M’s, think of the things you like to eat. Imagine a family of four, and add those items to a food box. With an unemployment rate at more than nine percent nationally, some need temporary help. They will appreciate meals that have taste or provide special items for a feast. Consider yams, raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, cookie or brownie mixes, fresh potatoes, garlic, onions, fruit, juices, hot cocoa mix, and canned meats. Perhaps even flavorings such as cinnamon red hots, cinnamon, vanilla, or pumpkin pie spice can bring out the flavor of desserts.
Remember that Jesus himself said, “Then the King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40 [NIV]. Compassion and charity: It’s everybody’s job.
Maybe Carol is better off than some of us in the financial world, but who evaluates the truly valuable portfolio? God is the final judge of that.
[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]