A Freezing Boy Scout

A college-aged volunteer came up to me the other day with moisture rimming his eyes. “I bought something from a freezing cold Boy Scout,” he said. I furrowed my brow, waiting for a clue. “Your book,” he said. “You talked about the little Boy Scouts.” Then I smiled, remembering the story: 

One Friday afternoon Jules and I realized we didn’t have all the necessary ingredients for the Build Your Own Burrito Bash we were hosting that night. That meant a quick run to the store. Now there’s a small, pricey store two blocks from our house, and a huge discount store six miles away. Not one to waste hard-to-find money I opted to save a few bucks at the six-mile store.

If there’s one thing I love about grocery shopping, it’s plastic bags. Unlike juggling paper sacks, you can now carry $500 worth of groceries in one load. Just hook a bag on each finger and waddle off like Santa Claus.

As I was leaving the store, I ran straight into two small boys. They were staring up at me, wearing Scout uniforms, and holding a large box of popcorn. This reminded me of three very important things:

1. I just drove six miles to save five bucks.

2. I’m holding ten bags of groceries.

3. I hate popcorn.

But you know what I did. I lowered my bulging bags to the cement—ignoring the items that began spilling out and rolling toward the parking lot—and reached deep into my pocket for ten dollars. It’s not easy standing in the hot sun on a Friday afternoon asking strangers for money, so I felt honored to support them in their small act of service. After all, I’d rather invest my money in kids than donate it to the corporate owners of an over-priced convenience store.

Most of us don’t realize how willing people are to invest in projects involving young people. Of all the giving opportunities people face, giving to youth remains near the top. Since finances play such a large role in enabling student ministry, keep this in mind when planning (from YOUthwork; pages 109-110).

“I’ll never walk past one of those kids again without buying something,” he said.
Me either.

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