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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

$100 from a Stranger

Earlier today George and I boarded a train from New York City to Norwalk, Connecticut. There weren't many seats available--it's Thanksgiving here in the States--but I spotted one by a well-to-do couple in their early 40's. "Mind if I sit here?" I asked. "Not if you don't mind dogs," the man said, half-jokingly. And then I realized that his wife had two little white dogs on her lap. "Not at all," I said. "I love dogs."

Thus began my conversation with this man, a hedge-fund manager, and his lady-friend (to whom, it turned out, he wasn't married). We talked about dogs big and small, Thanksgiving, social issues like AIDS and the untouchables of India, foreign policy, micro loans, Christianity, my job as George's assistant, and a whole lot more.

Suddenly, my new friend pulled out a $100 bill, handed it to me and said, "give this to your boss." I thanked him and said, "I'll do that."

A few minutes later, I went up to George and told him about the gift. "No one's ever given me money on a train like that before," George said, as he pulled out a copy of his three-in-one book. "Give that to him," he said, handing me the book and one of his business cards to serve as a bookmark.

I walked back to my seat and handed the book to my new friend. "My boss asked me to give this to you. He wrote it. I need to warn you, though; it's pretty hardcore." "What do you mean," the girl asked. "Well, it's about the authenticity we've been talking about," I said. "It's about spiritual reality, and how everything we do comes out of that."

They were a little surprised, and also truly grateful. "Thank you," the man said, taking the book. "I'm Brandt, by the way." "And I'm Lauren," the girl said. "I'm Nigel," I said. "Hm, I wish I had a business card to give you," I said, "but I'm out." "Well, here," Brandt said, volunteering one of his.

We had been together on this train for about an hour, but it was at that very moment that George flagged me down from his seat further up, indicating it was time to get off. This was our stop. I collected my things and said goodbye to Brandt and Lauren. "God bless," I said as I walked away, not really sure what else to say. "You too," Brandt returned, sincerely.

So, this is what happened on the train-ride in to our destination today. Now, several hours later, it is dark out, and we're on the train back. As I sit here, I can't help but wonder if Brandt will pick up George's book and maybe read some of it. I can't help but what wonder what will become of Brandt, especially now that George has decided to add him to his for-life prayer list. And, knowing that George is involved with funding evangelistic, literature, and social-action projects around the world, and recognizing that our God is a God of mystery, I can't help but wonder what He will do with that $100.
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ar TORONTO, CANADA | 2019+

JANUARY


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