Right On Time
While attending seminary in the late 1970s, I was the recipient of a gift for which I will always be grateful. Growing up in a small town in south Alabama, I was the first person from my church in years who “felt called” to ministry and decided to pursue that calling by attending seminary.
As a full-time student, I, like many others, worked two and sometimes three part-time jobs to pay the rent, make the car payment, buy groceries and books, plus have a little “play” money. Even though I opened a checking account in Kentucky, I also kept my account at my small-town bank in my hometown as my back-up. I still had some funds in that account for emergencies, and I knew that my parents could deposit money there if I really needed help.
No matter how many hours I worked, it seemed that some months, funds still ran low, and making ends meet was difficult. At those times, money “appeared” in my hometown bank account. It was usually one to two hundred dollars and was just what I needed at the time.
The money was not coming from my parents. Both they and I tried to find out from the bank officials the identity of my benefactor, but the bank employees maintained confidentiality as requested by the donor. To this day, I have no idea who was my silent sponsor during my seminary years. When I finished seminary, the money ceased to appear.
Because of that generous gift, it has always been my dream to “pay it forward” by helping another student in need. While I’ve not been able to do what that gracious person did for me, during my almost thirty years as a college chaplain, I have done my best to help students, faculty, and staff in all the ways I could.
Thanks to my anonymous benefactor, I have made it a point to do the best I can to help those that I can whenever I can – especially students – and to help financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
–Rebecca G. Hartzog
Winston-Salem, North Carolina