Friday, August 5, 2011

What do you get when you cross a boy scout with a veterinarian?

I get an opportunity to learn something every time I talk to a donor.

I remember waiting to visit with one of my parishioners in Kennett, Missouri in the waiting room of his vet clinic.  As I sat contemplating the flea collars and graphic representations of what heart worms do to dogs, I was struck by the electronic sign above his reception desk.  It cycled through the same messages every few minutes - only one or two were about animals.  The other messages alternated between an ad for Dianetics, an update on the Kiwanis, the local Boy Scout troop, a music group and a fundraiser for CASA, a group which provides help to foster children.

I was intrigued by the fact that one guy could have this many things going on, in addition to running a successful business - in one small town.  It seemed that he was actively working on every major form of effective help he could get his hands on.

When I got a chance to sit down with him, I asked him to describe his impetus for being so actively involved in the community.  Most people would be satisfied to donate - as he had - or possibly be involved in a group.  However, here was a man who did several - and this didn't count his old-timey band or his flea circus.

After being asked about this,  he shrugged and said, "I was brought up with an ideal - from him to whom much is given, much is required."

He didn't really explain the concept further, and it's taken me a while to be able to grasp it fully.  

It goes without saying that we live in the richest country in the world.  Much of the planet lives on dollars per day.  If only due to this, it behooves us to do all we can to help mankind with the resources we have available.  This, my parishioner had done - he was a Patron with Honors to the IAS and a Humanitarian for the St. Louis Ideal org building project, and had made numerous donations over the years.

The above quote is from the New Testament.  After thinking about it, I saw that my parishioner had also applied this datum to the spiritual dimension and  to his level of participation in the projects of living as well.  

There are many people who cannot donate their time to helping others.  They aren't spiritually capable of doing it.  By this, I mean that perhaps they are too shy to be involved in a group, their IQ is too low to solve the problems of others, or perhaps they can't even read.  

If those of us who can apply our skills to help others don't do it, our skills will atrophy.  Our abilities will lessen to the degree that we become unwilling to use them.  The finest way to use what we have is in the pursuit of help.

Thank you, Everett, for all that you have done and will do in the future, and for living a life of active and valuable philanthropy.

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