A Tale of Ten Dollars

The other night at a church gathering, I heard a message about justice (In God We Trust Week Three). At the end, everyone was given an envelope. Inside was a single ten dollar bill from the church’s funds. The instructions were simple: take the ten dollar bill and spend it however the Lord leads you to in order to make a difference for one in the community. In my head, I was thinking of different ideas I could use this money for and pretty easily dismissing them as not quite right. I walked away that night with the ten dollar bill tucked away in my notebook, telling God I had no idea what He wanted me to do with that money.

That was Saturday.

On Tuesday I found myself feeling tired and completely unmotivated to go about getting ready for the day. I slept in a bit, took my time with breakfast and then slowly began to get dressed for work. I pulled into my parking spot outside the studio a good two hours later than I’d intended.

As I was approaching the door to the studio, I heard someone call out to me. I turned to see a woman quickly moving across the street. I’ve forced myself to be a little more wary of people downtown as of late due to an unfortunate incident a few weeks ago, but there was something about this woman that made me pause, a stirring inside that gave the simple command to see what she needed. So I asked her to give me a minute, stepped inside the studio to turn off the alarm and then came back outside to speak with her.

She looked into my eyes and asked me if I knew of anywhere that could help her. Her daughter was sick, and she had spent her morning going from church to food pantry to shelter to church, desperately searching to find someone or somewhere that could help her get eight dollars to pay for her six year old daughter’s step throat medication. She couldn’t find anyone to help her. Her eyes were full of tears when she asked me, papers from the doctor in hand, if I knew of anywhere in the area that was open and could help her get the eight dollars she needed so she could go to a nearby Kroger to buy her daughter that medicine.

Her eyes were full of sincerity and tears as she spoke, and it struck me that she wasn’t asking me for money like most would have. All she wanted was information on people or a place that could help. I knew just by looking at her and listening to her first few words that she was the one the ten dollar bill was meant for, that I was the person who was supposed to offer this answer for her. I asked her to wait for a minute while I went back inside the studio and dug around in my bag for my wallet. I grabbed the ten dollar bill and stepped back outside. With my arm outstretched toward her, ten dollars between us, I told her to take it, that it was for her and her daughter.

She was surprised, but moved. Her already watery eyes filled just a little bit more, her face showing her relief as she thanked me and told me more of her story. She had been out of work, but just got a new job that was to start soon. She inferred that she would be fine financially after that, but in the meantime, her daughter was home sick and she didn’t have the funds to cover the cost of the medication. She herself had been traveling around the downtown area in the sloshy rain and was understandably frustrated at the lack of assistance she’d been given. Her relief was palpable as she told me more about her and her daughter. We parted ways after just a few short minutes, but I told her I’d be praying for her family, and she thanked me again before moving down the street with purpose in the direction of the nearest Kroger.

It struck me when I went back into the studio that I wouldn’t have met her had I been on time to work. I would have been holed up in the studio, working behind the computer when she passed down my street. It was clear to me that the encounter was completely God-orchestrated, and such a powerful reminder to me that He uses all kinds of things for His glory, including those mornings I’m late for work and single paper bills passed from one follower of Christ to another. He chooses to use the little things just as powerfully as the big things, and for that, I am thankful.