The Final Question

imgres-2James Durkee wrote, “When the great finals come, each one will be asked five questions.  First, what did you accomplish in the world with the power that God gave you?  Second, how did you help your neighbor, and what did you do for those in need?  Third, what did you do to serve God?  Fourth, what did you leave in the world that is worthwhile? Last, what did you bring into this new world which shall be of use here?”

There is only one answer.  The answer is love.

I learned that lesson from Hugh Jones.  Hugh spent his professional life in the banking business.  In l985, a year after he was made Chairman of the Barnett Bank of Jacksonville, Hugh started the Korean Heart program, which provided life-saving surgery for 70 children over the next ten years.  At the same time, Hugh established an unprecedented bank-wide employee volunteer program.  Under Hugh’s direction, all the bank’s employees were asked to put something back into the community through volunteer programs of their own design.  Walking the talk, Hugh took the lead in establishing a Ronald McDonald House, organized a local chapter of a wish-granting group for terminally ill children, helped create a homeless shelter for the city of Jacksonville, and built houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Hugh turns 82 today.  It’s safe to say he has touched at least one life for each day of his life.  Conservatively, that’s 29,930 lives.  If each of these people touches a similar number we have a geometric progression.  Hugh’s reach – and by extension, our own – is endless.

This is how the world is changed.  The smallest act of kindness affects the universe.

Every choice we make, everything we do is an investment.  As Hugh will testify, we enrich ourselves not by saving but by spending, not by investing in things but by investing in people.

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