The Sunshine Report
December 24, 2019
The letter in Ruth’s mailbox was unusual to say the least. There was no stamp on it and no return address. Immediately upon entering the door to her home, Ruth began to open the letter. The letter read:
I will be stopping by for dinner tonight. I look forward to dining with you.
Is this some kind of hoax, she thought? Then again, what if it is true? For certain the letter had arrived with no stamp. “I will be prepared just in case he does show up,” she spoke out loud to herself.
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 and buy something for dinner.”
Ruth reached inside her purse, searched around for her money: Five dollars and forty cents was all she had to her name. “Well, I can get some cold cuts, bread and tea, at least,” she thought to yourself.
She threw on her coat, grabbed her purse and hurried out the door for the market. It was a windy, blustery day as she hastened on her way. A couple of times the winter weather brought thoughts of doubt and she considered turning back. But just the possibility of Jesus coming for dinner kept her going.
The warmth of the market was welcomed as Ruth when about weighting her food options. Finally, she decided on a quarter-of-pound of both turkey and ham and a loaf of bread. She had both condiments and tea at home.
At the checkout she had figured correctly. She had the grand total of twelve cents remaining to last her until her next retirement check.
Nonetheless, she felt good as she left the store to begin the trek home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm. “Hey lady, can you help us?” a voice from a nearby alley punctured the air.
Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans she hadn’t noticed the two figures, a man and a woman, huddled in the alleyway, both of them dressed in little more than rags. “Look lady, I haven’t got a job and my wife is pregnant and hungry. Won’t you help us?”
“Well, all I got are a few items for a special guest who’s coming to dinner,” Ruth said haltingly.
“Maybe somebody will come…” the man was saying as Ruth interrupted, “I believe my guest would be the first to understand if I gave my food to you.” With that she offered the bag of groceries to the man.
“That’s very kind of you, lady,” the man offered as his shivering body rose to accept the gift.
Ruth hesitated a moment before leaving, noticing the young, very pregnant, woman rubbing her shoulders as if to stay warm. Without a word, Ruth removed her coat and handed it to the man’s wife. “Here please take this, I have another one at home.” The sentence was barely complete before Ruth turned for the walk home.
“Thank you lady,” the man’s word rang out behind her.
Ruth had taken only a few steps before she turned back toward the couple and said, “Would y’all like to come and stay at my place for a few days?” The words were out of her mouth before she realized the potential danger this might impose for her. But she didn't feel compelled to withdraw the offer.
“No madam, we’ll have a place to go soon enough. We really appreciate what you have done,” the sound of the man’s voice echoed in the background as Ruth hurried home. She was cold on the outside, but on the inside, Ruth had a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Jesus didn’t show up for dinner that night. Ruth was glad in a way. It would have been great to talk and spend some time sharing with him, but she would have been a bit embarrassed because she really didn’t have anything to feed him. Yet, in her heart she knew he would have understood why she didn’t.
The next day there was another letter in the mailbox with no postmark and no stamp. Ruth quickly opened it and read the contents:
We really enjoyed the dinner. It was very special of you to share it with us. And for you to give away your coat nearly brought tears to my eyes. It means so much to me to have a friend like you.
The epitome of giving is to give away something we think we really need.
God says, “I like it very much indeed, When you care about another’s need; Not what you give, but what you share,
For the gift without the giver is bare.
Who gives, touches the lives of three –
Himself, his neighbor in need, and Me!”