It's a worthwhile practice to always strive to do what's right, no matter what good may acrue to you. In my mind, that's the essence of the Golden Rule.
Now I'm not a model practitioner of the Golden Rule, but sometimes I get it right. One example that comes to mind is my friendship with some special needs adults that I see at church regularly. These are grown men who can offer very little to me from a worldly perspective. This past Sunday I encountered a few of them and got to spend some time just enjoying their company. We exchanged hugs and some fascinating conversation. Life for these friends of mine is simple and unselfconscious. I'm blessed to be considered their friend.
The particular example of reaping the results of good will, however, goes back to my days as a church administrator and associate pastor. Some years ago the church I served hired a heating and air company to install a new unit. It was only after we had hired this company and the work had been completed that I learned from a competitor that there were some questions concerning the license and credentials of this company we had hired. If I had made a big deal out of it, this contractor would have gotten in hot water and possibly have been put out of business. But I decided to practice a little grace and give him the benefit of the doubt. The result was that the work passed inspection, he got his licensing issues cleared up, and his company has gone on to become one of the most successful heating and air businesses in this community. He has told me several times how much he appreciates my giving him a little slack in that awkward situation.
I talked to him on the phone today to ask if he would allow me to work up a commercial property and casualty quote for the church he attends. To say that he was accommodating would be an understatement. Of course, he may have allowed me to offer a quote despite his being appreciative, but, again, doing the right thing certainly didn't harm my chances.
The lesson in all this: Do the right thing just because it's right, expecting nothing in return. In the fullness of time, your good will may pay dividends you would never have anticipated. Or it might not. But do what's right anyway.