Give the best you have
Howard Kelly was a poor college student selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school. It had been a very discouraging day of sales. Hungry and out of money, he decided to ask for food at the next house. But when a lovely young woman answered the knock, he lost his nerve.
Instead of requesting food he asked for a drink of water. However, she thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly; it tasted so good. When he was finished he asked, ”How much do I owe you?” “You don’t owe anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He smiled at her, “Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
As Howard Kelly left, he not only felt stronger physically, his faith in God and people was much stronger also. “And to think,” he said aloud to himself, “I was on the verge of giving up and quitting!”
Many year’s later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. Finally they sent her to the big city, where specialists were called in to study her rare disease.
When one of the specialists heard the name of the town from which she came, a strange light filled his eyes. He left the group of doctors and went down the hall of the hospital to the patient’s room. He recognized her immediately and went back to the consultation room determined to do everything in his power to save her life.
From that day on he gave special attention to her case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. He put in a request to the business office that the final bill be sent to him for approval. He looked it over carefully and then scribbled a note in the margin.
Later, as the patient was preparing to be dismissed from the hospital, she was given the statement of what she owed. With fear and trembling she opened it. She felt certain that it would take her the rest of her life to pay for it all. As she looked over all of the figures, the handwritten note in the margin caught her eye. It read: “Paid in full with a big glass of milk.” It was signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.
In one of her poems Madeline Bridges has written:
Life is the mirror of king and slave—
‘Tis just what we are and do;
Then give to the world the best that you have,
And the best will come back to you. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.