Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up
and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again.
There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.
She read the letter:
I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and 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 and buy something for dinner.” She reached for her purse
and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents.
“Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat
and hurried out the doo r. A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced
turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with grand total of 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 two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man
and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.
“Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living
out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting
kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate
Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and, frankly,
she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted
“Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few
cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner
tonight and 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 and headed back into the alley. As she
watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.
“Sir, wait!” The couple stopped and 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, and Ruth could see now that she was
“You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this
one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s
Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street…without her coat
and with nothing to serve her guest. “Thank you lady! Thank you very much!”
Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too.
The Lord was coming to visit and 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 and opened it.
It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank
you, too, for the beautiful coat.
The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.
— Author Unknown