Who Gains Most?

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In the transaction of service, who gains the most, the server – or the served? The answer is mathematically obvious. I have two of something and you have none. I serve you by giving you one of mine. It looks to me like I am down by one. I serve you – and lose in the process. Right? It’s simple math.

When I was a small boy, we lived on a farm in Layton, Utah. The Stimpsons were our neighbors. They were an elderly couple who were not very well off. We didn’t have much money either, but we had a large garden and plenty of food. We took to leaving fruit and vegetables, fresh baked bread, etc. on the Stimpson’s doorstep at night. They never found out who made these nocturnal deliveries. My mother wanted it that way. She always said, “To do good – feels good,” and to serve anonymously feels even better.

When I was perhaps six years old, I made my first solo delivery. While Mom waited around the corner in our old station wagon, I nervously placed the basket of food on the door step, jumped off the porch and ran for cover. I was hiding behind an old overgrown shrub in the front yard when Mrs. Stimpson finally creaked open the door.

She looked around bewildered – no one was there. Then she spotted the care package. She stooped over, picked it up and held it like a precious treasure as she peered out into the darkness. In a voice quivering with emotion, she said, “Thank you. Thank you, whoever you are.”

Suddenly I felt it. Welling up inside me from wherever it came from, was a warm wonderful feeling I had never felt before. After Mrs. Stimson closed the door, I dashed to the car and jumped in.

“Momma, what’s happening to me? I feel like God’s inside.”

That’s when my mother taught me this wonderful mathematical law of the universe. What we give away from our hearts returns to us multiplied. That’s real math – that’s real magic.

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6 Responses to “Who Gains Most?”


  1. 1 Lorraine Wednesday, January 28 at 5:02 pm

    Brad,
    Thanks. I needed to hear that story, which was not only well written but touching and uplifting.
    Noah says “We should hang out with them” about y’all. You’re always in our thoughts Bartons.
    Lorraine and Noah

  2. 2 Tom Thursday, January 29 at 7:01 am

    Thanks Brad! What an appropriate message now, as many struggle with the slow economy and tight job market. I was raised with the same a of service and giving. My wife and I have passed these values to our children. We all have fond memories of “doorbell-ditching” food and clothing baskets and have felt the things you did.

    I have to wonder whether or not we would see the corruption in banking, by CEOs, and the greed displayed by many, if they all had a mother like yours and had learned this vital “math” lesson. I think we all would agree that such immoral and corrupt behavior would be rare.

    Thanks for your example, your wisdom, your eloquent writing, and most of all, for sharing! I wish you continued success.

    ~Tom (WSU)

  3. 3 Julie Meyers Thursday, January 29 at 3:13 pm

    THANKS BRAD! What a wonderful way of expressing a glorious emotion!! Great Family Values!

  4. 4 Craig Rollo Friday, January 30 at 3:22 am

    Brad,

    I really appreciated this story. It brought a little tear to my eye.

    Keep up the great work you are doing!

    Craig

  5. 5 Ann-Marie Sunday, March 8 at 7:45 pm

    This message warmed my heart and made me smile. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message and memory. It reminds me of how much I miss your mom. She is an amazing lady.

  6. 6 Ann-Marie Monday, March 9 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you for this uplifting message. It brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. It reminds me of how much I miss your mom. She is such an amazing lady.


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