I hate to admit this, but just as the radio said “the Powerball jackpot is at $500 million dollars” I saw a gas station and thought, “God knows I’m a tither….”
I was a few minutes early for pick up at the school, so I pulled into the gas station and went inside. It had been years since I had bought one of these in Florida, so I began reading the back of the form when a customer at the counter said:
“Sir, could you please let me have a dollar?” Great. I’d heard that before.
“Sure,” I said. But as I handed her a $1 bill, I noticed that something was different. Next to the register was a big pile of cash. I didn’t realize how much until she spoke.
“Thank you so much,” she said, accepting the dollar. “I got laid off last week, and I’m trying to pay my bill but now they tell me it’s not $386…it’s $387.”
Having done my part, I nodded and picked up the little golf pencil to try to scratch $500 million into my pockets. Then I heard the cashier say “…and 10 cents.”
“10 cents? Really? Can’t you just let that go?” she begged. But my fingers were already reaching for for the 2 nickels I knew were in my left pocket. I pulled them out in the midst of her pleading with the cashier and reached over her shoulder and put them in her unsuspecting hand.
She suddenly stopped negotiating and stared at the two small coins like they were the Hope Diamond. Her eyes began to water as she looked at me while handing them to the cashier. I lowered my head and went back to scratching with the golf pencil, but then there was a hand on my shoulder. “God bless you, sir,” she said as she headed to the parking lot sniffing. “You don’t know what this means to me.”
I left my half-completed ticket at the kiosk and followed her outside, digging for any remaining cash as I went. She turned around at her car door and stared at me and the $8 in my hand. “You need this more than I do,” I said, handing it to her. And suddenly her tears began to flow as she spoke of illness and bills and her recent layoff and the gas light that had come on right before she pulled into this station.
And before I knew it, I was hugging a stranger beside a Citgo and praying in her ear that no matter how dark the valley she was in that God would be with her, His rod and staff would comfort her, that God would lead her into greener pastures and beside still waters, and that God would restore her soul.
And as I walked to my car she said: “The Lord is gonna bless you!”
I slid behind the wheel and I sighed. Maybe it wasn’t $500 million. But I had just won the lottery. And I hadn’t even bought a ticket.