The pastor of Highland Hills Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., entered the coffee shop early Wed. morning and placed his breakfast order. Then he reached into his vacant back pocket.

“I forgot my wallet,” he exclaimed.

Fortunately, one of his faithfu…, uh, one of his members was pecking on a laptop at a nearby hightop.

I pulled a $5 bill out of my pocket and handed it to him.

“Thanks. I’ll get lunch today,” he said as if he meant it.

Later that morning I picked him up and we traveled together down to Southwest Georgia for Millard Fuller’s funeral.

Afterward, we — along with my friend, Marshall — entered a popular Americus restaurant that excels in cornbread.

“Put it all on one check,” Pastor Jim said before the server even reached the table.

At the end of the meal he snatched up the check and bolted toward the cash register near the door. Marshall offered to leave the tip.

“No, I’m getting it all,” the preacher said magnanimously.

He handed the cashier the check and his credit card. Though several steps behind, I heard her respond: “Sorry, but we don’t take credit cards.”

Guess who had no cash. This time I fished out a $20 bill and handed it to him. And I sent Marshall back to the table with four ones.

I’m booked in other pulpits for the next five Sundays. But when I return to Highland Hills, I hope the texts for the week include: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

In the meantime, I’ll see how many meals I can get out of my now-empty wallet.

No wonder they used to pay ’em with tomatoes and corn.

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