Ruth went to her mail box, & there was only one letter. she picked it up & looked at it before opening it, but then she looked at the letter again. there was no stamp, no postmark, only her name & address. she read the letter:
I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon, & I’d like to stop by for a visit.
her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. “Why would the LORD want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.”
with that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. “Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store & buy something for dinner.” she reached for her purse & counted out its contents. five dollars & forty cents. “Well! I can get some bread & cold cuts, at least.”
she threw on her coat & hurried out the door.
a loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, & a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with grand total twelve cents to last her until Monday.
nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.
“Hey lady, can you help us, lady?”
Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed 2 figures huddled in the alleyway. a man & a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.
“Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, & my wife & I have been living out here on the street, &, well, now it’s getting cold, & we’re getting kinda hungry &, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it.”
Ruth looked at them both.
they were dirty, they smelled bad, & frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.
“Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts & some bread, & I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight, & I was planning on serving that to Him.”
“Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway.”
the man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned, & headed back into the alley.
as she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.
“Sir, wait!” the couple stopped & turned as she ran down the alley after them. “Look, why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.”
she handed the man her grocery bag.
“Thank you lady. Thank you very much!”
“Yes, thank you!” it was the man’s wife, & Ruth could see now that she was shivering. “You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket & slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. then smiling, she turned & walked back to the street…without her coat & with nothing to serve her guest.
Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door & worried too. the LORD was coming to visit, & she didn’t have anything to offer Him.
she fumbled through her purse for the door key. but as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.
“That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.” she took the envelope out of the box & opened it.
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. & thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.
the air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.