The Gift That Endured

by Stan Mitchell
fivedollarbill.jpg“I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:19).
It was 1980, and having finished college, I was ready to return to Africa and do mission work. Her name was Miss Minnie, and she was the feisty, practical, lovely matriarch of an entire community. I had preached there for three years, and she had often slipped me a five dollar note on a Sunday evening, carefully placed in an envelope so nobody could see. She would whisper, “Stop at a Dairy Queen on your way back to campus and get something to eat.” The first time she did this, I tried to argue with her. I didn’t see that a student at college was any less well off than a woman in her eighties, living on social security.
But one did not say “no” to Miss Minnie Stockstill.
It was a week before I was to fly to Zimbabwe, and she had read in her copy of the Dallas Morning News that a lion had attacked and eaten someone in that country. She cried, certain I would meet a similar fate, but aware that she shouldn’t discourage a man from doing the Lord’s work in another land!
I tried to reassure her. Perhaps she was mollified. Of course she has long ago gone on to meet her Lord, but I have always thought of those five dollar bills, slipped so secretly to me. She thought that no one saw her action.
Someone did, and He was the one who really mattered.

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