The power of giving to others

By JASON PATTERSON,

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

1 Peter 4:10

A friend who takes that verse to heart allowed me to be a part of an extraordinary experience this week.

Neetsie Gary has many talents, and she is always using those talents to make others happy. Her baking is like art, and it has to take a lot of time to prepare the things she makes, but she brings treats to the children’s choir at our church each week and often prepares things for others.

She is also a talented painter, and she sometimes creates art for others when she feels inspired to do so.

Neetsie was recently inspired by a photograph of a young softball player that was published in this newspaper. I took the photo, and I remember thinking that it was the best photo of the day. I didn’t even know the little girl’s name at the time, but she stood out to me because she was a really good player.

Neetsie saw the photo and contacted me wanting to know if she could create a painting based on it. She said that she would like to present the painting to the girl’s mother, although she had no idea who her mother was.

I told her that of course it was fine if she used the photo, and I went to work trying to find out who the girl’s parents are. The player’s name was Joie Beth Taylor. I later figured out that her mother’s name was Courtney Taylor because she was tagged in some of the photos we posted of Joie Beth on The Herald’s Facebook page.

Neetsie went to work on the painting, and I think her husband may have missed a meal or two as she worked for hours to get the painting done before the season was over.

It was ready just in time for the last game, and the plan was that I would meet Neetsie at the ballgame (Joie Beth’s team happened to be playing my daughter Elsie’s team that night) and point out who the parents were.

When the game started I spotted Joie Beth’s father, but there was no sign of her mother. I was beginning to worry that he might start thinking I was some kind of weirdo hanging around watching him while trying not to make it obvious. Eventually Neetsie asked him if Courtney was coming, and he informed her that she was at their son’s baseball game, which was being played at another field.

Fortunately, that game started later than the softball game so we had time to meet at the other field.

I don’t think that Mrs. Taylor knew what to think at first when a woman she had never met before walked up to her in the bleachers and handed her this large gift wrapped package. Most of the crowd around us was now focused on what was happening in the stands rather than on the field.

The surprise and joy on this mother’s face when she opened a beautiful painting of her daughter or the father’s pride when he called his little girl to come see it is something that I will never forget.

It was a powerful reminder to me of the value of giving.

Most of us don’t have the ability to paint a lifelike portrait of someone, but all of us have some God-given gifts.

This experience helped me remember that we were given those gifts to share with others.