What Does a Quarter Buy?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

What can you buy with a quarter? 

Not even a pack of gum today, but in 1963 a quarter would buy my lunch at school. With this bit of trivia I’m telling my age but it’s worth it to tell the rest of the story.

A painfully shy little girl in my first grade class whose name I don’t even remember seemed to always stand off by herself at playtime. Her clothes were not as nice as the other little girls. Somehow I found out this little girl didn’t have a quarter to buy her lunch. I’m not sure if they had the free lunch program back then and if so why she didn’t participate, but I do remember being upset that the little girl didn’t have lunch money. I told my grandmother about this little girl one evening and for the remainder of my first grade year, she sent a quarter for me to give to that little girl to buy her lunch. A dollar and twenty five cents a week. Doesn’t sound like much of a big deal does it? But over the years I realized that it was.

My grandmother worked in a factory – a factory where she sewed for eight hours a day in a large warehouse full of women and with the deafening roar of the sewing machines echoing all around. The lint from the garments they sewed was flying throughout the warehouse like dandelion seeds on a windy spring day. When my grandmother emerged from that windowless building, her hair would be filled with that lint.

Little socializing took place in this factory. A loud whistle blared to mark the beginning of the work day and the women scampered hurriedly to their seats. The sound of the whistle blasted throughout the day decreeing a ten minute break in the morning, a lunch break, a ten minute break in the afternoon and finally one last time as the workday came to a close.

My grandmother’s wages were based on her performance. But she remembered the days of the Great Depression and was happy to have her job. She was proud to meet her quota and to occasionally exceed it which meant a small bonus for her to take home.

In 1963, I know a dollar and twenty five cents was more than pocket change to my grandmother. I also know that her generosity made an impression on my mind and heart that has stayed with me for five decades now. Alice Elinor Adkins Shelton, my grandmother, was Jesus to that little girl. At the same time she was showing another little girl how to be Jesus to others. All for the price of one quarter a day.

Father, help us to be aware of the opportunities you give us to be your hands and your feet.

Susan Dollyhigh

Susan Shelton Dollyhigh was born and raised in the small, quaint town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy (better known as Mayberry), is Andy Griffith’s hometown and the place that inspired The Andy Griffith Show. Susan has two children, and four wonderful grandchildren who have totally captured her heart. Susan is a free-lance writer and columnist. She is a contributing author in Spirit and Heart: A Devotional Journey, Faith and Finances: In God We Trust, The Ultimate Christian Living, and I Believe in Heaven with Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk. Susan’s articles and devotionals have appeared in Connection Magazine, Exemplify Magazine, Mustard Seed Ministry, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, and on CBN.com. She is also a contributing online writer for ChristianDevotions.us, and TheChristianPulse. Susan never intended to become a writer. She never intended to write even one story. But God intended for her to share her life and personal experiences as He continues to restore beauty from the ashes of her life. She is very humbled that God would chose to use her to share the message that His power is indeed made perfect in weakness. Susan has a passion for the homeless and has spent many years teaching Bible studies at shelters. Please visit Susan at her website: www.susandollyhigh.com.

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  1. Awesome post, may you be blessed.

  2. Wow, Wow, Wow…Susan, what an incredible post, your grandmother’s story brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart! Thank you so much for sharing it with us today!

  3. What a blessing! Thanks so much for sharing. It’s easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of this world how important those things are that seem so little!

  4. This is a WONDERFUL post. What a lesson you learned, and you taught us! Beautiful.

  5. Wiping the tears! Beautiful story of God’s love!

  6. I was six in 1963 too! Your story makes me think of my grandmother. She always made sure to give me things I wanted for my birthday. She would always buy us comic books and take us to Dairy Queen when we visited. When I had kids, she gave me money each month to send my son to preschool, because we didn’t have the money. She worked for people, cleaning houses, doing laundry and ironing, whatever made a few dollars. When I realize now what she sacrificed for me, I cannot believe it! I always took her for granted. I doubt it was what you intended the devotion to mean, but thanks for the memories and the wakeup call on taking God’s grace for granted!

  7. Your story brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of the legacy that my grandparents and parents left for me. I was 6 in 1963. We were missionaries in South America. I remember seeing my mom and dad give of themselves and what little we had (which was a lot compared to others)to others on a daily basis. And yes, I too learned to be Jesus hands and feet.
    Precious story!
    grace to you


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