What would you do if you found a bundle of money in an old sofa that you purchased from a thrift store? I know what I’d do. I’d have said, “Thank you, Jesus,” and accepted it as a gift from the Lord.
I ask the question because it actually happened. On January 17th, 2019, UPI reported that a Michigan man, Howard Kirby, discovered $43,170 stashed away in an ottoman. He purchased the sofa several weeks ago from a Habitat for Humanity store to use in his man cave. Howard noticed that one of the cushions was firmer than the others. His daughter inspected the cushion and found bundles of $100 bills stuffed into it.
“Thank God for such a blessing.” Right? Well, old Howard didn’t feel right about the matter. He worried about the people who donated the sofa. He contacted his attorney, who told him he was under no legal obligation to return the money. But that didn’t ease Howard’s conscience. So he contacted the thrift store and asked the manager if it was possible to locate the family who donated the sofa. It was. So then and there Howard Kirby decided to return the money to the unsuspecting family.
As I read about Kirby’s troubled heart, I found myself saying, “Don’t do it! Keep the money and forget about it. Accept it as a blessing from the Lord.” But Howard was only doing something that all people should do. He was putting himself in the other person’s place. It’s called empathy. And his tender heart would not allow him to enjoy a huge chunk of change at someone else’s expense.
Now understand, Howard Kirby is not “high society.” He’s a struggling resident of the “rust belt” who admitted that he could have certainly used the money. But his conscience wouldn’t let him.
Fortunately, the family that Howard returned the money to was as financially strapped as he was. And they were deeply touched by his kindness and thoughtfulness.
Love In Action
You know, people like Howard Kirby rarely make the news. We only hear about the psychopaths and sociopaths who routinely and remorselessly abuse others and grasp at anything that isn’t nailed down. And we conclude that once the going really gets tough in America, society will break down and people will forget all about kindness and love. Howard Kirby shows how some people will still refuse to abandon their humanity. They’ll continue to share and show compassion.
I don’t know if Howard Kirby believes in God or attends church. If he’s an atheist or unbeliever, I’d have a difficult time sharing my faith with him. He’s simply a better human being than I am. I’m the one who needs to learn from his example. In Titus 1:16 Paul spoke of those “who profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.” Wouldn’t it be better to profess nothing but only bear witness with our deeds and demonstrate the Gospel through our kindness and love? In Romans 2:25-27, Paul seemed to indicate that much. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
Dear Lord Jesus, please change my heart and make it like Your own. Awaken and tenderize my calloused heart and fill it with Your love. Grant, dear Jesus, that I will proclaim my faith in You by sincere acts of love. Amen.
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/8096583991/ (By US Army, Licensed under CC By 2.0)
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/3364818819/ (By US Army, Licensed under CC By 2.0)
–https://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/6023896163/ (By Marines, Licensed under US Govt Work)