The Three-dollar Coffee Maker

by Paul Lu

The story began when I attended a conference and stayed at a hotel that had a small Keurig coffee maker in the room. Since not all hotels had these nifty machines, I immediately tested it out by making myself a cup of coffee as soon as I came into the room. I like my coffee with a lot of cream and some sugar. When I realized that there was not enough cream and sugar provided, I asked for some more. A few hours later, I came back to the room and noticed that not only did they provide me with cream and sugar, they also gave me about 10 to 15 Keurig coffee pods. “What was I going to do with all these?” I thought.

My wife had been saying that our coffee maker was acting up, and was thinking about buying a new one. When I came back from the conference, I told her the story of how the hotel gave me a lot of Keurig coffee pods, but that we had no machine to use these pods.

The next day we were out running errands and had to buy some supplies at the store. I noticed that there was a large, top-of-the-line Keurig coffee maker sitting in the clearance section. It immediately caught my attention. The box was open, and it seemed to have been tampered with. Upon a closer look I noticed that the price tag was only $3.00. I could not believe it! I asked the clerk at the register and confirmed that the price was indeed correct. I asked if the machine was broken, and he could not say one way or another.

I quickly ran over to find Prudence and asked her to take a look. We agreed that the price was too good to pass, even if the machine did not work. We took it to the register and again asked the clerk if the price was correct. Then, Prudence noticed that the price tag indicated that the product was for iced tea mix, not for the coffee maker. At this point we thought that the store probably made a mistake and we would have to forfeit the deal. However, the clerk simply said, “Well, the label was ON the box, wasn’t it? I’ll sell it to you for $3.00 if you still want it.” We were delighted at his answer and took it home.

Since the box was open, I did not expect the coffee maker to work. As I opened the box and took out the parts, I saw that everything was brand new, still in the wrapper and even the stickers were still sealed in their proper places. The assembly was a piece of cake, and soon we were celebrating by making our first cup of fresh coffee.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. Granted, this was not a person who has cancer getting healed, or someone who narrowly escaped a tragedy; yet it is a reminder of the goodness of God to a need that we had. He graciously provided a $140 coffee maker to us practically for free. A few weeks later, we were able to share not only our incredible story to the East Asia Team, but also to use the coffee maker at our team retreat. God is good. He cares and provides for our needs no matter how big or small.

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