This afternoon I wanted to turn east from a north side shopping plaza onto 17th St. Sarasota.
There was an almost non stop parade of west bound traffic, so it was easier to turn west, and then use a frontage road in front of the Butchers Block shop to effect an U-turn.
I entered the frintage. She raced over and blocked my way. "Surely", I thought, "she has come to admire Zion", whose head was hanging out of the driver's side back window.
Not a chance!
"Could you", she said "buy me a gallon of gas?" I need to get back to Clark Rd. (There is a gas station about 200 yards from where we were.)
In such circumstances I'd normally fish for a couple of dollar bills and some loose change, enough for a gallon of gas.
But all I had in my bill fold was a Ten Dollar bill which I handed to her, (without much graciousness on my part),
She "God blessed" me, and we went our separate ways.
Did she need money for gas? I'll never know. It's not my job to be investigator, prosecutor, jury and judge in such cases.
Was I being generous? Not at all! Giving ten dollars will hardly break my bank.
But as I drove home I asked myself "would I have handed it over so readily if I had nothing but a $20, $50, or $100 bill in my wallet?"
I doubt it! Maybe for a $20, but certainly no more.
So why should I expect to be commended for being "generous" with ten dollars, perhaps even $20, but certainly no more?
When does generosity move beyond from "what can I afford?" to "how do I respond to this particular need?
It must be much more than at the level of a ten dollar semi-grudging hand-out from my car window.