In any event, one portion of their web page is devoted to “Things Found in Books”. Here, they asked bookshop owners to share what sorts of things they have found inside used books. Here is a sample:
a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card,
a marriage certificate from 1879,
a baby's tooth,
a diamond ring,
social security cards,
credit card receipts,
a World War II US ration book (with stamps remaining),
World War II discharge papers,
a pair of scissors,
a valid driver's license,
a cockroach (dead),
and even a strip of bacon.
But the one constant theme was money. According to the web page, as well as legal tender US dollar bills, there were plenty of foreign currency notes as well. Additionally, there were credit cards, debit cards, social security cards, domestic bills, credit card receipts, and cancelled checks.
Among the more significant responses were these.
One bookstore in Carlsbad, New Mexico reported: “A wealthy, elderly woman in my town died a few years ago and left a large book collection with many fine books, much of which wound up in my inventory. The remaining books went to a local thrift shop, including a microwave cookbook which, as it turned out, contained 40 $1000 bills. The book was purchased by someone from out of town who was idling away the time waiting for her ride. She took the money to a local bank to verify its authenticity and that was how we heard about it. She didn't give a cent back to the thrift shop, either. A deeply frustrating experience for many, I can assure you.”
The good folks over at Abebooks then state that they called this particular thrift store in Carlsbad and the manager confirmed that these events did indeed occur several years ago, just as reported, although she did not know just who had donated the cookbooks. They then added, “Last printed in 1934, $1000 bills are very collectible and worth far more than their face value, so the buyer of the used cookbook actually got far more than $40,000.”
A response from a Plainfield, Illinois book shop said: “I found many old banknotes of several countries from the World War II era. Some Japanese, some German with burned edges. I was helping out at Victoria's Books in downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois, a few years ago. I was running from the back room to the front of the store to get the phone and knocked into a massive old dictionary. The notes just came spilling out. The book was so massive we had no idea so much could be hidden in there.”
And a lady at a used bookstore in Sandpoint, Idaho said: “I found a $100 dollar bill inside a book that was brought in for trade. I gave it back to the customer a few days later and it made her week.”
All of this reminded me of something that happened to me early in my ministry. I was on staff at the First Baptist Church of Avondale Estates, Georgia as Associate Pastor when, on a given Sunday, the spouse of an individual involved in the founding of a major waffle restaurant franchise approached me to state that she had lost her Bible. She had been looking for it for two to three weeks and simply could not figure out where she had mislaid it.
Of course, I dutifully helped her search for it. We retraced her steps from the parking lot to her Sunday School classroom to the Worship Center; but we were unable to find it. The following Sunday, I met her in the hallway and inquired as to whether she had found her Bible. To my relief, she answered in the affirmative.
It was then that she said something I have never forgotten: “And guess what, Pastor Jack… I opened it up and there was dividend check that I had forgotten all about!”
And there you have it! When you find God’s Word, and actually open it up and look inside, you will find dividends galore! Now, to be sure, these dividends may or may not be material. They may or may not even be of this world at all. But they will most certainly be evident! Above all, they will be spiritual! And they will be meaningful!
So, even if it has been awhile, why not open up that old book, that Book of Books, the Holy Bible? You might just be surprised at what all you will find inside! What’s more, I am confident that, like the Psalmist (in Psalm 119), your testimony will likely be that you are delighted in what all you discover there!