17 Cents!


Steve Nauman

One week after my first wife Laura and I were married, I started working in a farm store. It was everything I had hoped for and more! Just as the manager had promised, he soon made me assistant manager and for a while things couldn’t be better at that job! Then one day the owners came in and were having a long meeting with the manager.

The first three weeks that I was thrown into  that new position were uncomfortable for all 30 employees of the store-not just me, because the owners were constantly coming in walking around with clipboards, writing things down, but saying nothing. After three weeks the owners wanted to talk with me in the office….. They started telling me a couple of “things” they wanted me to do….. Ah Ha I thought! Is this something similar to what my manager had been confronted with when he talked about “no longer seeing eye-to-eye with them?”   

I tried to get them to reconsider about what they were saying and wanting me to do. But they just became more adamant and got louder. Finally, the oldest one slammed his fist on the table and yelled: “It’s your job, do it!”  I just calmly reached in my pocket, took the store and alarm keys off my ring and said:“No, it’s your job, you do it.” Then I left….. When I got home, Laura said that I had no choice, I had done the right thing and God will provide another job. Then she said to go next door to find out if our Christian neighbors know of any jobs. I went next door and the man said he worked in a factory on something called Screw Machines. He even said to wear old clothes because they can’t find anyone to work on those things and he’s sure I could go right to work!

Well….. I had a little pocket of pride that God was getting ready to deal with….. Proverbs 29:23a “A man’s pride shall bring him low:”  But it doesn’t matter if we have lots of pride or just a little, God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13)  You see, even though I had never been in a factory in my life, as soon as I heard my neighbor say “factory”, something inside me said: “I’m not going to work in a factory!”  The next seven weeks were some of the toughest, yet most important weeks of my life….. I thought I’d get a job in another store in a day or two. Then I kept getting turned down every single place I applied…… All day long I was filling out applications, only to get turned down! I had to start selling whatever I had that was worth anything just to pay bills and buy food! Yet, every time I’d see that neighbor, he’d ask if I had a job because the need was still there in that factory!

After almost seven weeks with no job and nothing else of value left to sell, I went over to ask the neighbor about that factory job….. He said it was still open and I could even ride to work with him. I didn’t come home happy….. I came home defeated and hungry. The only food left in the house was a half box of macaroni and a little ketchup. So I had macaroni with ketchup on it. It was while I was eating that miserable meal that I realized my PRIDE caused all this. So I prayed and confessed to God that I was sorry and sorry that my stubborn pride had to drag Laura through this too.

Laura came home and we went to get a few groceries with the last few dollars I had. As we got out of the car, I checked my wallet to know exactly how much we could buy. My wallet was empty! Then I remembered those last few dollars went in the gas tank that morning. I told Laura “We don’t have any money.” We got back in the car. I checked my pockets …..17 Cents!   We sat there in silence for a few moments as Laura began to cry-saying she can’t take it anymore, what are we going to do? I said: “I’m going to pray.” She said: “What good is that going to do? We need food now, we’re starving!”  I told her that I can’t go in and steal food from the store. We don’t have family around to borrow from-and I don’t have any other idea what to do, but God does!  

So I prayed….. we held hands, bowed our heads and I prayed out loud for probably three minutes. When we looked up, right in front of our car was a grocery cart with 2 bags of groceries in it. There were no other cars within 7 or 8 spaces in any direction or any person on foot….. Who could have put that there? Was it meant for us?

We just waited and watched and as any car would go by the people wouldn’t even glance at it. After fifteen minutes I got out, looked around, and could not see anyone looking in our direction. I put the bags in the car and we went home! There were all kinds of basic foods such as bread, bacon, eggs, peanut butter, jelly, hot dogs and more! I could now have sandwiches to take to work in the morning!  
We never knew who put those groceries there….. was it someone we knew? Was it an angel? I don’t know, but that food held us until my first partial check from that factory, and by the way…..

Working in that factory was the best job I ever had! God had given me a gift and talent for working on those machines and I really enjoyed it. Four and a half years after I first rode to work with my neighbor, I started my own Screw Machine Factory!

God always has a great plan for our lives if we follow His will with the right heart attitude.

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.