Daily Devotions

A heart for others

November 2, 2020

“Blessed is he who considers the poor.” Ps 41:1 NKJV

 

On December 18, 1933, a curious ad appeared in a Canton, Ohio newspaper: “Man Who Felt Depression’s Sting to Help 75 Unfortunate Families. Anonymous Giver Known only as ‘B. Virdot,’ posts $750 to Spread Christmas Cheer.” All the reader had to do was describe their plight in a letter and mail it care of “general delivery.” The appeals poured in. Oddly, no one knew a “B. Virdot,” and people wondered if such a person even existed. Then within a week, checks began arriving in homes all over the area. Most were modest, about five dollars, and all were signed “B. Virdot.” Throughout the ensuing years as the story was told, the identity of the philanthropist remained unknown. Then in 2008, long after his death, his grandson opened a tattered black suitcase collecting dust in his parent’s attic. That’s when they found the letters dated December 1933, along with 150 cancelled checks. Turns out that B. Virdot was really Samuel J. Stone, and the pseudonym was a hybrid of Barbara, Virginia, and Dorothy, the names of his daughters. Interestingly, there was nothing privileged about Sam Stone. He was fifteen when his family emigrated from Romania and settled in a Pittsburgh ghetto. Sam’s father hid his shoes so he couldn’t go to school, forcing him and his six siblings to roll cigars in the attic. Eventually, Sam left home to work on a barge and then in a coal mine. By the time the Great Depression hit he owned a small chain of clothing stores, and lived in relative comfort. Nevertheless, he had a heart for others—and his actions proved it. Can that be said about you?

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