She didn’t even know my name.

I was visiting a church and was browsing the bookstall after the meeting had ended. Having found what I wanted to buy, I realised I had no cash or cheque book on me. A woman overhead me say so.

“Let me buy it for you.”

I protested. I didn’t know this woman. The book cost fifty dollars. I started: “That’s very kind of you, but I couldn’t possibly—” when she cut me off.

“Are you a Christian?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

Immediately she said: “So can’t a sister buy a book for her brother?” As she said this, she got out her cheque book and reached for a pen.

We had just met. I was a white British man in my mid-twenties; she was a middle-aged African American woman. Yet she instantly offered to buy me a fifty dollar book, because in Christ, I was her brother.

Sister, you will likely never read this; but one day, when we meet again, I will thank you for showing me so clearly what Jesus meant when he said: “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another”.

Originally posted on February 29th, 2012. Cross-posted to Call to Family.