MINDEN, La. — An anonymous individual who says that they stole pencils and markers from the office supply room while working for the Webster Parish Courthouse 40 years ago has mailed a box to the office where they worked as a teen, restoring the office supplies tenfold and enclosing a letter outlining that they believe God would have them make things right.
According to The Shreveport Times, a Folger’s coffee box was delivered to the Louisiana State University College of Agriculture extension office on Wednesday, sent to the attention of worker Joan Almond. When opened, Almond was perplexed as to why she was shipped an assortment of pens, pencils and highlighters—that is, until she saw the letter inside.
“This may seem strange, but I am attempting to right a wrong committed over 40 years ago,” it explained. “As a teen in the 70’s, I worked one summer at the Webster Parish Courthouse in the extension office.”
“I was raised by a single mom who had no support for several kids of any kind, and we struggled making ends meet. While I was working at the extension office, I took one box of pencils and some markers from the office supply storage room,” the letter outlined. “The fact that we were poor was/is no excuse for my behavior and it has haunted me since this day.”
The anonymous writer said that they were trying to make restitution they best that they could. He or she asked that Almond either use the supplies in the extension office or donate them to a single mother in need.
“I am sending ten-fold what was taken, and I ask your forgiveness,” they wrote. “God has done so long ago, but He reminds me that after confession comes repentance, and repentance must come with restitution if possible.”
The typed letter was simply signed “forgiven and free.”
Almond, who has also worked in the extension office since the 1970’s, posted the letter to Facebook as she wanted to share the story, which she said brought tears to her eyes.
“I cried just realizing that God draws his children close to Him and He never gives up on us,” she wrote. “The person who sent this after 40 years just makes me know that in God’s eyes, time is irrelevant. It may take a lifetime for us to repent and seek restitution, but He is patient and always forgiving.”
Almond says that although she would have worked in the office at the same time as the anonymous writer, she has no idea who it might have been. She said she would like to know, as she is moved by their act of restitution.
In Luke 19:8-10, the Bible recounts the words of Zacchaeus to Jesus, as Jesus came to his house in seeing that the man had diligently climbed a tree to get sight of the Messiah.
“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.'”
“Zacchaeus gave proofs publicly that he was become a true convert,” the Matthew Henry Commentary outlines. “He does not look to be justified by his works, as the pharisee, but by his good works he will, through the grace of God, show the sincerity of his faith and repentance.”
“Zaccheus is declared to be a happy man, now he is turned from sin to God. Now that he is saved from his sins, from the guilt of them, from the power of them, all the benefits of salvation are his,” it outlines. “Christ is come to his house, and where Christ comes, He brings salvation with Him. He came into this lost world to seek and to save it. His design was to save, when there was no salvation in any other. He seeks those that sought Him not, and asked not for Him.”