Ignacy Paderewski!” The whisper came out more like a muffled scream drawing attention from several other students who made it obvious through their glares that they wanted to concentrate on the lecture. Toning his voice down a little, he looked again at his classmate, “That’s great! I can’t believe it!”
“Yah! And he’ll be here at the University!” his friend replied. “I want to organize a concert before he leaves town again. Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear a true master at the piano?”
The side-talk soon drew the attention of their professor and the excited banter was put on hold for the time being. But that did not necessarily mean that their minds were reverted back to their class. Who could possibly concentrate on a lecture about plate tectonics in geology class when you have a world famous Polish concert pianist and statesman coming to town!
Their professor let up eventually and the session dismissed. The two young men walked out of the lecture hall of Leland Stanford University excitedly chattering about their plans to organize a concert with Paderewski.
Unfortunately, however, their town did not share their enthusiasm. Their carefully laid plans turned out to be a disaster. So few people were in attendance that the two young men were not even able to pay the booking fee, that was arranged with Paderewski’s manager, let alone the rental for the concert hall and their own personal expenses for advertising and other allowances that they had taken. It goes without saying that these young men were beyond embarrassed when they approached Paderewski with the paltry amount that their excited endeavors had brought in, well short of the contract amount!
“Sir, we will make up the remaining balance through the summer’s work,” they said handing him a promissory note.
Smiling at the two young men Paderewski tore the note into tiny pieces. “Boys, take ten percent of the money each for your hard work, and give the remaining money to me. I will pay the cost of the concert hall. I will do this under one condition—that you think no more of it.”
Both relieved and still feeling more than sheepish, the two tripped all over themselves with gratitude. The man’s kindness was far from expected, which made it all the sweeter. They promised to make it up to him, which he disregarded with a wave of his hand.
The year is now 1919, 27 years after the disastrous concert. Paderewski has since been elected as the first Prime Minister of Poland. It was a devastating time to be in office. He had just seen his country through World War I and the country’s economy was devastated, and starvation was rampant. With most of the European countries also struggling to regain their balance after the war, there was only one man in the entire world who could be of service to him in this time of crisis—the president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, the same man, who years ago had tried to arrange a benefit concert with such disastrous results.
The two men had maintained a friendship since their meeting at Stanford University and President Hoover finally had the opportunity to return the kindness shown to him so many years before. Launching the largest relief effort ever in Europe, thousands of tons of food and supplies were given to Poland feeding over 1.5 million people in Poland alone.
Memory Verse: “But this I [say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Corinthians 9:6.