The Flower Thief

July 31, 2018
by Vincent Walter

At the end of a Sunday evening dinner, some of us observed a resident taking the fresh flowers from several different tables. She assembled them into a small bouquet and left the dining room.

Each Monday, fresh flowers are placed on our dining room tables, so we weren't too upset. However, several of us labelled her "The Flower Thief".

When I confronted her about the accusation, she shared with me what she was doing. Apparently, one of her neighbours, celebrating her ninety-fifth birthday, was not feeling well enough to come down to dinner. Knowing that her neighbour loved flowers, she decided to accumulate a little bouquet and take it to her room. She wasn't really a "thief"; she was just thinking about how to cheer up someone else.

In further discussion regarding the incident, it became obvious that both the recipient and giver of this simple act received so much as a result of one person being kind to another. They both experienced joy.

It reminded me of a little chorus that I was taught as a young child, sung to the tune of Jingle Bells:

    J-O-Y J-O-Y
    Surely this must mean
    Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.

As I pondered the two-way dimension of the explanation from "The Flower Thief", I entered my own suite and saw on the wall a plaque inherited from my grandmother, who died as a missionary in India in 1925, which has six simple letters: O-T-H-E-R-S.

The longer I live, the more that I learn the truth of the words written by Paul:

Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (NIV)

I learned two other profound truths from the simple act of kindness on the part of the "flower thief". Firstly, when we do something for others, we usually receive more blessing in return than the blessing that we give to the recipient.

Secondly, it is not necessary to do something big to be a blessing. Simple acts of kindness can be helpful. Even giving a smile rather than a frown can be a blessing. Certainly, this is something that each of us can do. It costs us nothing, yet can bring a surprisingly large reward — a smile in return!

Prayer: Dear Father, help us to think constantly of others, to turn our thoughts into actions, and to give to others without thought of any return. We know that we will then experience joy in return, knowing that we will be following the example of Jesus. Amen.

About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the word of encouragement, Vincent.


    Thank you, Vincent, for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.


    Lovely! Thank you. A good encouragement for today (and any day).


    Good morning, Vincent,
    I always appreciate your devotionals. Thank you.


    Sweet story. Your flower thief was actually washing someone’s feet!
    Thanks for sharing, Vince.


    Thanks for a fragrant word today Vincent. It made me think of the Prayer of St. Francis.
    Blessings.


    Your devotional reminded me of a hymn our Sunday school classes sang as I grew up in our church called “Others”.
    Thanks for sparking the memory,
    (SC, USA)


    HI Vince
    another good one. I also noticed with this person, she didn’t announce to everyone what she was doing, to bring attention to herself, quietly doing something to bless someone else.
    I know you are a blessing to the ones where you live. God bless you!


    Greetings Vincent,
    Thank you for a beautiful devotional this morning. We need to be mindful of sometimes doing the smallest thing for someone else could bring abounding joy to them.
    Blessings for your writing,
    (B.C.)


    Dear Vincent,
    What a rich heritage you have Praise God!
    Thank you for today’s devotional “The Flower Thief.” A Wonderful story about kindness, serving others, and putting Jesus first.
    You blessed me, thank you!


    To Vince,
    Thank you for “The Flower Thief.”
    I’m always very happy to see fresh flowers used more than once. It seems a shame to put them in the garbage after being used only once.
    Maybe the ‘”Flower Thief” should have let people know of her plan.
    Thanks for your prayer too.


    Another memory: my young children went to VBS along with their uncle. Mine were maybe school age uncle Joe was a little older. My aunt went as a helper. They, of course, had fun and learned the song I’ve got Joy Joy Joy Joy down in my heart to stay and the 5 yr old said well we sang and sang about Joe but we never said a word about our aunt.
    Just brought to mind when you mentioned about Joy.
    (ON)


    Thanks for today’s wonderful message.
    It brought back wonderful memories of my great aunt.
    She had very little but several times a week she would pick pansies from her garden and take them to someone in a nursing home or to someone in the hospital.
    She would say these flowers have happy faces and bring a smile to someone in need.
    She always reminded them that Jesus loves them.


    Hi, enjoyed your message today.


    Love the sentiment expressed here.


    Beautifully written, thank you. So true the words you write.


    Walter. You are right. An act is not enough in doing for others but a thought like not assuming she was stealing flowers. Staying neutral and not judging is an act of kind and humility to putting others first.
    Thanks.

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