Dear Ruth

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it
up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope
again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.

She read the letter:

Dear Ruth,

I'm going to be in your neighborhood Saturday
afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit.

Love Always, Jesus

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. "Why
would the Lord want to visit me? I'm nobody special. I don't have
anything to offer." With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty
kitchen cabinets.

"Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to offer. I'll have to
run down to the store and buy something for dinner." She reached for
her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents.
"Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least." She threw on her
coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of
sliced turkey, and a carton of milk...leaving Ruth with grand total of
twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she
headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey lady, can you help us, lady?" Ruth had been so absorbed in her
dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway.
A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. "Look
lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out
here in the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting
kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and,
frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they
really wanted to.

"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself. All I have is
a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for
dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him."

"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his
arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the
alley. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.

"Sir, wait!" The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley
after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out
something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag.

"Thank you lady. Thank you very much!"

"Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth could see now that
she was shivering.

"You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this
one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's
shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the
her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

"Thank you lady! Thank you very much!"

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried
too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have anything to
offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she
did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.

"That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day." She
took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth,

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the
lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

Love Always, Jesus

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

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