Photo by Matias North on Unsplash


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A pastor’s wife called to invite Rod and me to dinner. I owed her husband a copy of my book for contributing his story. My husband’s rotating schedule made finding a time to meet for dinner a challenge. They had recently moved their church to a larger building, so I asked if we could visit their new church and eat lunch after the service.

Before we left for church that morning, I asked my husband to put a box of books in the trunk. I walked into the church with the complimentary copy I owed Pastor George in hand. As soon as I stepped in the door a friend wanted to buy the book in my hand. Service had not started yet, so I sold her the complimentary copy. While waiting for her to find her wallet, another woman asked to buy the book. I waved to my husband. “Go to the car and get two books, please.”

Service had started by the time I sat in the front row seat a friend saved for me. During the announcements, Pastor George said, “A famous author is visiting the church today.” Embarrassed by his confidence in things not yet true, I elbowed my friend to stand and take a bow. She did.

Then he invited me to come on stage and say a few words about the book. I wasn’t prepared to speak, and I returned to my seat and my frowning husband trying to recall what I had just babbled. It wasn’t as bad as my husband thought. Three people on the row behind us tapped me on the shoulder asking to buy the book.

During the five minutes of greeting one another that followed the announcements, I told Pastor George about the request and that I had extra books I could sell after the service. He relayed that information to his congregation.

At the end of the service, my husband brought the box of books to the back of the church, where a line had formed to buy them. I had not planned to sell books and was not prepared to make change. The first man handed me a $20.

“I’m sorry. I don’t have change,” I said.

“Keep the change,” he responded.

I was selling the book for $15. It retailed for $16.99. Why would anyone give me an extra $5 for a book swirled in my mind unable to take root and send a response to my mouth. The man tossed the $20 into the box of books, took the book out of my hand and left. That scenario happened four times, except for tossing the $20 in the box. The second time it happened, I resigned myself to accepting the extra $5.

When the last person paid for her book, I paused to ponder why people gave me $5 above my asking price. Then I heard, “How much for the book?”

I looked up to see Sister Mac smiling at me.


Her smiling face fell in disappointment. I’d met Sister Mac twenty years earlier. She was widowed and caring for her adult handicapped son. He had recently died, and she was living alone on half of her former income. Then it dawned on me why people were paying above my asking price. God had paid for Sister Mac’s book.


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