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
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 door.
A loaf of French bread, half-pound of sliced turkey,
and a carton of milk...leaving Ruth with a 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 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
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
"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman
myself. All I have is few cold cuts and some
bread, and I'm having an important guest for
dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that
"Yeah, well, okay lady, we understand. Thanks
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 shivering. !
"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 shoulders. 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
The air was still cold, but even without her
coat, Ruth no longer noticed.