St. John’s Baptist Church

Worship | Sundays @ 10:30am

December 15, 2020: Being a Blessing to Another

December 15, 2020

Being a Blessing to Another

By Rev. Lee Gray

I met him in the summer of 1991. I was selling educational books and Bibles door to door in Monroe, Louisiana. One day, I knocked on a door and an African American in his early sixties answered it. This gentleman named Sam James looked at me through kind but discerning and inquisitive eyes. He invited me inside and we drank coffee. As we did, he sought to understand me, what I was about, and what I was doing. After about an hour he bought a large print Bible for his wife, saying this would make it much easier for her to read. I made it a point to go back by and see him before I returned back to college at the end of the summer. As luck would have it, the next summer I sold books, I was sent back to Monroe, Louisiana again. And, again, Sam bought another Bible from me. This time it was a Children’s Bible for his two newly adopted daughters. At the end of the summer, when I came to say goodbye, I told him about a neighbor across the street. I could never catch this neighbor at home, and he had ordered a Bible with his wife’s name on it. Having her name on the Bible meant that I couldn’t return it to the company if it went unsold. Sam told me that the man was out of town, and Sam wanted to know how much the man owed. Sam paid for the Bible and told me that he would get the money from the man when he returned. In the summer of ‘93, when I didn’t go back to Monroe, Sam called my house and wanted to know why I hadn’t come by to sell him any books that year – like he really needed some more books. Some years later I thought about Sam and decided to give him a call. He shared with me about his two adopted girls going off to college. And he also said to me, “Lee, my oldest daughter passed away from cancer and that was sad; but God is still good.” I asked him if the guy across the street ever paid him back for that Bible with his wife’s name on it. He said, “You know Lee I can’t remember, but he is always doing work on my kid’s cars, and he has really been a blessing to us.” If I had to bet, I’d bet Sam just gave him that book some 28 years ago. The $30 or so dollars I might have lost on that Bible doesn’t matter at all today, but the fact that Sam James reached out to me years ago does. I’ve shared this story several times over the years, and every time I do, I call Sam. I spoke to him last week. He now has 30 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and one adopted, grown-up child that lives in Charlotte. He is a reminder to me that sometimes you do something nice for someone just because you believe in something more. Sam taught me what it means to be a blessing to another person. That lesson influences me to want to bless others as well.