Skip to main content


Make Someone Else's Life Better
By Joel Osteen - Jul 15, 2009
Not long ago, I read a story about a little boy named Andy Valdez. He grew up in the 1960’s in a single parent home. They didn’t have much, so he would sell newspapers on the street corner to make money. During the summer, little eight-year-old Andy would go to the same street corner at Main and Second. He would make three cents a paper, and after four or five hours, he’d usually come home with little more than a dollar.

There was a gentleman by the name of Jack Keller who owned a printing shop across the street from where Andy would sell his papers. Every morning Jack would pass by little Andy, but he already had his paper. One day Andy got his nerve up and asked, "Hey, Mister. Why don’t you ever buy your paper from me?"

That kind of took Jack back and he laughed. He said, "I don’t know. Maybe I’ll start." That man not only began buying the newspaper from Andy, but he took little Andy under his wing and began to mentor him. He met with his mom and asked if Andy could come and help at the printing shop. She was thrilled. At eleven years old, Jack started taking Andy to the country club where he belonged and taught him how to play tennis. Andy would hear some of the other kids joking behind his back about his clothes, about his race, about how he was different. Jack would tell him, "Don’t worry about that Andy. You don’t have a problem. They have the problem." Jack was always instilling confidence and self-esteem into this young man.

Andy got better and better at tennis. In fact, when he graduated from high school, he was offered a full tennis scholarship to a major university. Nobody in Andy’s family had ever gone to college. Andy decided that he was going to become a lawyer because all the people at the country club that wore nice suits were lawyers.

Today, it’s no longer Andy; it’s Judge Andrew Valdez. He’s not only a lawyer; he’s a state District Judge. One of the things that Judge Valdez is known for is starting multiple youth mentoring programs to troubled teens. Now he’s reaching out to help teenagers that were just like him.

And what’s interesting is that over the years, Judge Valdez lost contact with his friend Jack. He began to wonder about him and worried about how he was doing. He went back to the printing shop and to the home where Jack lived. He even checked the death records, but found nothing. For six years, Judge Valdez looked for his friend Jack.

One day, he was at a grocery store, and he saw an old man over in the corner. He was about to be arrested. He was homeless, disoriented, and had health problems. When they looked at each other, their eyes met. Judge Valdez said, "Jack, is that you?" There was a small smile. Jack was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He had wondered from his home and lost everything. Now it was Judge Valdez’s time to return the favor. And he did.

Judge Valdez took Jack in. He got him a place to live and hired someone to take care of him, feed him, and watch over him. For the next four years until Jack went to be with the Lord, Judge Valdez would go visit with him time and time again. He said his favorite thing was to walk in and see Jack reading the paper, sitting there eating dinner. That’s where it all began.

I want to remind you today, when you give of your time, resources, and abilities, it will come back to you. When you take time to invest in others, it starts a chain reaction. Not only will you come up higher, but each person you affect will affect someone else. You never know the difference you make when you take time to care, when you take time to make someone else’s life better.
Join the Conversation