I spotted the bill on the carpeted hospital hallway as I rounded the corner from the rehab unit where I’d been sitting with a loved one.
Folded twice, it looked like mine.
Instinctively, I reached into my left pocket and felt the few ones and fives I carried rather than fidget with a purse at the hospital café.
Earlier that morning, I’d pulled out a $5 bill for the drive-through carwash. But the line was too long, so I stuck the money back in my pocket. Had I later tugged it out with a restless hand?
What if the $5 belonged to someone else who walked this hall as often as I? Someone who needed it more. What if finding it was a test—by God or security cameras?
Part of me felt it would be poor stewardship of my money to leave it there.
And part of me felt like a thief as I picked up the bill and shoved it in with my double-folded wad on my way to the elevator. Surely God would forgive me if it wasn’t mine.
An hour later as I pulled out of the Walmart store parking lot, I waited for traffic at the main exit where a young man stood holding a cardboard sign: “Iraqi war veteran. Anything will help.”
I didn’t have to fumble with my purse and wallet because the $5 bill slipped easily from my pocket. I rolled down the passenger window and held it out.
“Thank you,” he said. “God bless you.”
Then I turned left onto the road for home.
It didn’t matter if the man was pulling a fast one on soft-hearted shoppers.
It didn’t matter if the man went home to a nice apartment and a girlfriend with a job.
It didn’t matter what he spent the money on. That was between him and God in the same way my act was between God and me.
What mattered was that the $5 bill on the hospital floor made its way to his hand.
“Give and it shall be given to you …” –Jesus