Monday, April 5, 2010


In the summer of 1975 I was 14 years old. Summers for Prairie Bible Institute were particularly challenging times as most of the students were gone and the cash flow diminished. Staff still had to be paid and summer maintenance programs undertaken. This summer was no different. My father was a Vice President at the Institute as well as teacher, preacher and editor of the schools flagship publication; the Prairie Overcomer. Dad usually would get home from work fairly late and so it was around 6:30 this day when he showed up for supper with a rather happy look on his tired face.

Normally Dad would arrive just in time to tune in "As It Happens" on the CBC or perhaps catch the daily broadcast of the "Haven of Rest." His little Sony transistor radio lived on the kitchen table and was our families source of news and entertainment programming around the super table. Tonight though, before he bowed his head to say grace, he informed us of a special provision that the school had received that very day.

An envelope had arrived that afternoon in the regular post addressed to Dad from a man in Florida. This fellow, though never having attended the school, had been following it's work through the Prairie Overcomer for many years. Dad related that the accompanying letter had instructed the administration to use the enclosed check as they saw fit and that more funds would be arriving in coming days. We all agreed with Dad that this was great news as we knew how tough the summer months could be for the school.

Never one to be overly shy, I asked Dad just how much money this man had sent as it seemed to have made a considerable impression on him. Dad informed us that the check was for ten thousand dollars! (10,000.00) This was astonishing and I asked Dad if I could see the check. Dad went off to his briefcase and promptly produced the paper in question.

As my teachers, classmates, and business associates will tell you, math was never my strong suit. Evidently it wasn't my Father's either. As Dad handed me the check and I began to examine it, I did a double take. There were not four zeroes before the period, there were six. (1,000,000.00) That's right, I held in my hand a check for one million dollars! I looked at it again - yup, that is was exactly what it said. I exclaimed to Dad - "Take a look at this, it's for one million dollars!" Dad said, "It can't be," and as I handed it back to him his eyes grew wide as the realization of the size of this "provision" sank in. The next time you get a check . . . check the numbers!

© 2010 Stephen J. Rendall - All rights reserved.

1 comment: