One May evening my husband and I walked home from prayer meeting. As he went to lock our pickup truck parked in front of our apartment building, he found a man lying on the seat. He was clean, nicely dressed, and held a wine bottle.
The stranger explained that he had no place to spend the night. We told him he could stay with us if he got rid of the wine. We invited him in and gave him some food, and he spent a restful night in our apartment.
The next day Bill* said his stomach bothered him, so I gave him some herbal tea. As we talked, I asked why he wasn’t working. He said that he’d recently had cataract surgery and that he couldn’t see very well.
So that afternoon I took him to an optician and paid the $50 for an office visit. The optician, a friend of ours, gave our new friend a free pair of prescription glasses—a $200 value.
We put Bill on a bus that evening. He went to a nearby city that had a homeless shelter. We saw him later, and he told us how he was grateful that we had taken him in. He added that he had prayed for God to help him. I gave him a copy of Steps to Christ, which he could read with his new glasses.
We felt happy that we had had the privilege of helping him, so you can imagine how we felt when a church member told us how foolish we’d been, adding that we should have called the police instead of enabling him.
Well, if helping someone is foolish . . .
One morning as my husband rode his bicycle to the school where he taught, he spotted a bracelet on the sidewalk. He picked it up, put it in his briefcase, and thought nothing more about it. The next morning he dropped it on our breakfast table. “Here,” he said, “want a piece of junk?”
I picked up the bracelet and examined it. It was large and heavy, with an unusual design. I thought it rather cheap-looking, but it had initials set in stones, and a name and a blood type engraved on the backside.
As I drove my husband to school that morning, I mentioned that the bracelet must be of some sentimental value to someone. After all, the person had gone to much trouble to have the engraving done and the initials set in stones. We decided to try to find the owner of the bracelet.
I looked in the telephone directory. I called the number of someone with a similar name but received no answer. I walked to the apartment building next door and asked the manager if he had a tenant by the name engraved on the bracelet. He said he didn’t.
“Too bad,” I said, “because my husband found a bracelet with that name on it.”
“Some folks were here yesterday looking for it,” he said. “They left a sign.” He pointed in the direction of a nearby telephone pole. The sign read: “REWARD!” and listed a telephone number.
Back at our apartment I called the telephone number; a woman answered. “Are you Mrs. Hall?” I asked. “My husband found your bracelet.”
After a short pause the woman said, “You’re kidding!”
“No,” I assured her. I gave her our address, and soon an attractive woman and her teenage son appeared at our apartment beaming with joy.
As I handed the bracelet to the woman, I showed her where the latch had broken.
“The bracelet belongs to my uncle,” she said. “I’ll have the latch fixed.” She went on to say how they had spent the entire day before looking for the missing bracelet. They were frantic; the bracelet was made of gold and diamonds, 69 of them. “Let’s face it,” she had told her nephew, “no one’s honest enough to return a bracelet of that value.”
Her uncle had cried when he realized that his bracelet was lost, because the diamonds on it came from his late wife’s wedding jewelry, and it had a lot of sentimental value. The woman thanked me profusely and handed me an envelope.
I drove to the school where my husband was teaching. “Look,” I said excitedly as I came into his classroom. I held in my hand a $100 bill.
“Praise God,” he exclaimed. We used it to buy flowers for that Sabbath’s worship service, which happened to be our wedding anniversary. The floral arrangement was displayed in our church sanctuary on Sabbath; then we gave it to our pastor.
A year later the woman to whom I returned the bracelet was still telling around town how wonderful Seventh-day Adventists are because of this experience. How marvelous is our heavenly Father to allow us to have a part in it. Praise His name!
* All names in this article have been changed.