The young woman, with a look of defeat on her face, went to the marketplace.
She approached a shopkeeper in the most humble manner and asked if he would give her credit for some bread, cheese, and milk. She softly explained that her husband was ill and unable to work. There were seven mouths to feed, and their cupboard was bare.
The shopkeeper scoffed and refused her request.
Knowing her family needed food on the table, she said,
“Please, sir. I will repay you as soon as I can.”
The answer was still an emphatic, “No!”
Standing behind the woman was another customer patiently waiting her turn. She saw what was happening, and her heart opened to the young woman’s plight.
She came forward and told the merchant that she would stand good for whatever the poor woman needed for her family.
Grudgingly, the shopkeeper said, put your grocery list on the scale, and I will extend credit up to the balance of the scale.”
When the young woman reached into her bag, she extracted a small piece of parchment and carefully placed it on the right bowl of the scale.
To everyone’s surprise, the tiny scrap sunk the bowl down, down, and down so deep it hit the table surface.
Gathering up the bread, the milk, and the cheese, she placed her items in the other bowl. It barely budged. Hesitantly she added a large bunch of carrots, potatoes, and even fresh meat.
Still, little movement. The scale was nowhere near the balancing point.
The shopkeeper picked up the woman’s grocery list to read it.
Bread. Cheese. Milk. Carrots. Potatoes, Beef.
And at the bottom, in the woman’s strong script,
“Dear Lord, you know my family’s needs, and I know God always provides.”
The stunned shopkeeper told the poor young woman that the groceries were not a loan. They were a gift from God, one that need not be repaid.
The moral of the story is this; Only God knows how much a prayer weighs.