Old Elmer – Today’s Family Devotion

Old Elmer


Bible Reading of the Day: Read Proverbs 14:21-22, 31.

Verse of the Day: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31, NIV).

“Grandma! Grandma!” Ty ran into the storeroom of the small restaurant his grand­mother had owned and run ever since he could remember.

“Ty,” Grandma said, “who’s watching the cash register?” Ty was supposed to be running the cash register. He sometimes helped his grandma after school.

“I asked Holly to cover for me real quick,” he explained. “Grandma, that man-the one with the long beard-he left without paying.”

“Uh-huh,” Grandma said, sounding disinterested.

“Should I catch him? Should I call the police? Wh-what should I do?” he stammered in a frantic tone.

“What?” Grandma asked, then before Ty could repeat himself, she said, “Oh, never mind him.”

“But you can’t just let him walk out without paying!”

“He never pays,” Grandma said.

“What!” Ty cried. “You mean he’s done this before?”

Grandma turned away from her work counting cans and took Ty’s face in both of her hands. “That’s Old Elmer,” she said. “He’s an old man with no family and no money. He comes in two or three times a week for a bowl of soup and some crackers. Been coming here since before your grandpa died.”

“You just let him eat without paying?” Ty asked.

“Well, sure,” Grandma said. “Wouldn’t you?”

“But Grandma, you can’t afford to just give food away,” Ty protested. “You’ve got a business to run.”

“And I’ve always done just fine, haven’t I?” she answered. “Old Elmer isn’t going to eat me out of my restaurant. Besides, I can’t help it. When I see him eating his soup at that corner table-the same table every time he comes in-I feel like the smile of God just fills this place. It sure fills my heart to know I’m helping Elmer out.”

Ty’s eyes fastened on his grandmother. He had always loved and respected her, but never more than at this moment. He understood now more than ever why so many people seemed to think his grandma was special.

Because she was.

TO DISCUSS: What did Grandma’s act of being kind to Old Elmer do for Elmer? What did her own kindness do for her? How does being kind to the needy honor God? How does being kind provide a good reputation? What other blessings and benefits come from being kind to others?

TO PRAY: “Jesus, we want to honor your name by being kind to everyone we meet.’