Generosity Without Expectations – Greg Albrecht

During the Thanksgiving season several years ago, the leader of a youth group from a prosperous suburb persuaded everyone to help serve meals in an inner-city soup kitchen. Before this volunteer service project, most of these young people had only seen homeless, impoverished locals through their car windows as they and their family drove through a poor part of town.

The teenagers served a predictable Thanksgiving menu of beans, mashed potatoes, yams and turkey to a long line of homeless people.

As they filed past these young people, filling empty plates with generous servings, few of the homeless people made any eye contact with the teens who were serving them a free meal, and fewer still mumbled a “thank you.”

Then, after all the homeless people enjoyed a delicious meal, the youth group washed all the pots and pans and dishes.

It was a long and hard day for the teenagers. Before their bus picked them up to take them home, the youth leader sat them down and asked them about their impressions of their day of service.

They were exhausted after working all day, and no one said anything, until finally one girl spoke up and said, “I guess I really didn’t like being here—it made me uncomfortable. And then, after all our work, I guess I would have liked the people we served to be a little more grateful.”

She was truthful—the people she served were poorly dressed. Some had not bathed for a long time and smelled. Some of them may have been slightly deranged. A few seemed as if they may have been high on a chemical substance.

The young lady was right—she and all her friends worked hard all day and they received little, if any, appreciation for their work.

“I guess I would have liked the people we served to be a little more grateful.”

Helping Others, Expecting Their Gratitude

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever extended yourself “above and beyond”—expecting to be thanked in return, only to receive little or no recognition for what you have done? That’s really one of the oft- recurring stories of life, isn’t it?

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