Whilst I was sorting out this weeks sermon and showing that despite all signs to the contrary in my old age I had actually been very poor at various times of my life, the story that best illustrated this was one from my time at teacher training college.
Despite working every holiday, money in my last year was tight. My grant of £7 per term did not go far...even shampoo was in short supply! My parents had not given me permission to go so there was no help coming from them.
I was hard pressed to buy more paper to write my assignments on and so I made my handwriting as small as possible, so I could get a five sheet essay on two!
My tutor asked me into his room one day...
"Whats going on Jean?" he was more than usually irate..."Reading your work is ruining my eyesight"
I explained that I was very short of cash and apologized profusely.
He was at first amazed and then contrite...it was the last explanation he could think of.
There and then he fished a five pound note out of his pocket and offered me more to get me through the year...on condition that my writing went back to the normal size.
Bless him...he got his money back when I started teaching and it was another sign that God is good... For which I shall always be grateful!