Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story of a well-known basketball player who paid forward the same gift to a young basketball player that he received when he was young. Shaquille O’Neal is likely one of the most popular and easily recognized former basketball players in the world, standing at over 7 feet tall – and wearing a size 23 shoe! When he was an 18 year old, he came from a financially struggling family and could not afford the size 18 penny loafers he need for a school dance. Bruce Teilhaber, the owner of Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta, gave Shaq a pair for free (and Shaq has been shopping there ever since). Recently, Shaq heard of a 13-year-old basketball player named Zach Keith who comes from a similar background to him, and who also needed size 18 shoes. Shaq brought Zach to Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta and purchased him 10 pairs of size 18 shoes to help him the same way that Bruce, the owner, had years before.
We are all given timely gifts in life – they may not be extravagant or expensive – but they were exactly what we needed when we need them. When we view giving through this lens, we don’t have to be rich to meet a need when it is needed. Jesus famously proclaimed what we now refer to as the Golden Rule, saying, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” A timely gift trumps an extravagant gift every time; look for what a person needs today and give that to them. Today, find someone in your life who is in need of something and provide it.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 NIV