Asking God for $100
By Andrew McChesney
Eighteen-year-old college student Roman Cardwell prayed a simple prayer before leaving home in Salem, a city in the U.S. state of Oregon.
“God, if you give me $100, I will buy stuff for the homeless,” he prayed.
As a full-time welding student, Roman didn’t have much money of his own. He didn’t tell anyone about his morning prayer.
Later that day he drove to the supermarket, grabbed an empty shopping cart, and began pushing it down an aisle. Finding a bag of bagels, he placed it in the cart. After that, he picked up a container of cream cheese to go with the bagels.
Then he looked down. His eyes widened in surprise. Lying in the cart was a crisp $100 bill. He blinked and picked up the money. The word “Benny” was written across it.
“Benny” is somewhat of a celebrity in Salem. For years, somebody named “Benny” has been going into local stores and sneaking $100 bills into shopping carts and purses or placing the money behind goods on the shelves. The unknown benefactor always writes the name “Benny” on the money, and it is believed that “Benny” has given away $50,000.
As soon as Roman stepped out of the supermarket, he called his father to tell him about his secret prayer and the unexpected answer.
“What do the homeless need most?” Roman asked. “I want to go shopping for them now.”
His father, Dale Cardwell, couldn’t have been happier. He is the pastor of Inside Out Ministries, a Seventh-day Adventist church in Salem that has more homeless members than members who have homes.
“We see miracles everyday as we minister to the gangs, homeless, and severely broken,” he said in an interview.
He has many questions for God about the remarkable answer to his son’s prayer: Who placed the money in the cart? Why was Roman’s cart chosen? Did God tell “Benny” about the prayer? What if Roman had asked for $1,000? What if we all made selfless requests to God?
James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (NIV).
While Roman and his father assist the marginalized in Salem, part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering with help a marginalized group — refugees — across the North American Division. You can be a “Benny” and plan a generous contribution.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.
Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org