Evangelist George Whitefield reined in his horse as he and his friend came face-to-face with a masked bandit. «Your money or your life,» the outlaw demanded.
The two travelers emptied their wallets into the highwayman’s hands. The bandit waved his gun menacingly, then spurred his horse and hurried away.
«Whew, that was close,» said the friend. «I thought we were goners for sure.»
George nodded. «Yeah. The guy looked desperate. Let’s hurry on to town before he changes his mind and comes back to kill us.» They’d gone only about a mile when the bandit returned at full gallop. «Stop,» he shouted. The two travelers obeyed. «I want the coat you have on,» he said, pointing at George. «It’s better than mine.»
«Friend,» said the evangelist, «you can have anything you want. I’m a Christian, and God tells us to love our enemies. Here’s my coat.»
«Well,» the bandit sneered, «I’m not a Christian, but I’ll give you my old coat for your trouble.» With that he rode away in a cloud of dust and laughter.
George and his friend had ridden only another mile when they heard the now familiar thunder of hooves behind them. But before he could catch them they reached the safety of the town.
That evening they found out why the robber was trying to catch them the third time. When Whitefield examined the coat the thief had «traded» for his new one, in the pocket he found the money the man had stolen during their first encounter.
THE LORD works in mysterious ways,» the evangelist chuckled.