In the Olive Press with Jesus {part nine: Keep the Change}

This is one of my favorite stories of grace. It’s a good one to walk us home to Easter. I’ve grown up hearing it, time and again, and it never fails to stir my heart in the deepest way. Thank you, dad, for sharing it with us, and thanks to my Grandpa Al for giving and living grace all those many years ago… just when my daddy needed it most. Perhaps you, readers, need it today.


The Crossroads Restaurant, Lent, March 25 {written by Charles Killian}

When I went off to college (Marion College, now Indiana Wesleyan University) in 1955, I had less than fifty dollars to my name. I remember clearly that matriculation fees were $19.50. My tuition and books were covered by two wonderfully gracious men from my local church: Robert Huffman and Jesse Shatford. They asked nothing in return, except a pledge that I would remain ‘true to the Lord’. That was it.

For my room and board, my job was washing pots and pans in the kitchen, seven days a week. It was boring, and I was lonely. During the middle of that first year, I had decided that I didn’t need college, and was going to quit and join the army. I was only 17, and I needed my parent’s permission. When my folks heard of this they called and said they wanted to come down to Marion and talk to me about this. They came, and we went out to the Crossroads Restaurant, which was famed for its plate-sized tenderloin sandwiches.

I don’t remember much of our conversation that day, but it had to do with my staying in college. My brother, George, was in the army and after ‘boot camp’ I could join him and we could see the world, so I was told by the recruiter. That sounded a whole lot better than doing dishes, going to college, and being penniless. When the meal was over, Dad gave me a piece of money and said, “Go pay the bill and keep the change.” Not noticing, I took the check and money to the counter to pay and realized I was holding a $100 bill. I had never seen such a large bill except for monopoly money.

I returned to the table and told Dad, “You gave me a $100 bill, you meant to give me ten.” He said, “No, pay the bill and keep the change.” My father knew I didn’t have two dimes to rub together, and believed if I had some extra change in my pocket, I might stay in college. After paying the bill, I was left with $94.

Years later, I learned that my parents stopped at the Marshall County bank in Plymouth on their way to Marion. Dad took out a loan for $100 for his homesick boy, and was hoping and praying for the love of God his boy would stay in college. And I did.

The journey has taken me around the world a time or two, but that luncheon at the Crossroads long ago, still looms as one of the greatest moments in my life. And the words, keep the change, stand as the watershed statement that best articulates my understanding of grace.

Keep the change. My father’s words to me at the Crossroads. My heavenly Father’s words to me at the cross. Oh the depths and stretch of such a gift. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get to the end of it. I don’t suppose I’m meant to.

Keep the change. Keep the faith, and by all means, keep telling the story. The best is yet to be.

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17 Responses to In the Olive Press with Jesus {part nine: Keep the Change}

  1. This is also a beautiful illustration of God giving us above and beyond what we could ask or imagine. He did it through the gift of His Son, and now I pray, because of His sacrifice, I will live the change, be the change, embrace the change, surrender to the change and be forever thankful for His changing work in me.
    Blessings to you and your family.
    Happy Easter.
    Because He lives,

  2. Thank you for sharing, Charles and Elaine. What a great story. There's no end to what a loving parent — or a loving Heavenly Father — will do. Yhis story beautifully expresses that truth. Easter blessings to you!

  3. This left me with a big ole smile on my face! What a generous and wise Grandfather you had Elaine! And I'm sure his wisdom and generousity has been passed down to your Father and to you!

    Thank you for sharing this today!

    God bless you and may you have a wonderful Easter celebrating our risen Saviour!


  4. Oh how this story blessed me! I love it. To think your grandfather would have gone into debt to keep his son where he thought best. To build him up. To show him such incredible love. And what a perfect analogy between us and our heavenly father. He gives us soo much more than we might ever even think we might need! Just to build us up and show us His incredible love. Hope you have a wonderful Easter as we celebrate His love and our risen Savior!

  5. Thank you for sharing your father's beautiful story with us, Elaine! So touching and perfect before Easter. Your Grandpa Al wonderfully demonstrated God's love for us, and the story will bless many generations to come, I'm sure … should the Lord tarry.

    Love & Blessings ~ Danie

  6. wifeforthejourney and Chuck:

    Though this is a story I've heard told before, I'm glad for the reminder, and the witness of what a father's love can do. All of us need hope and re-filling, and there are days where even a little encouragement makes all the difference.

    Blessings to you both for the way you continue to tell your stories. I am a richer man for having you both in my life!



  7. Billy, I am the 'richer person' for having you, Elaine and the wild rest of you, in my life. And thanks to you wonderful readers who find in our stories, that common bond that links us to the Father! One more story to go….thank God, Sunday is coming! Chuck Killian (Elaine calls me 'Dad'.)

  8. "Dad,"

    How interesting the name of the restaurant…Crossroads. You had reached a crossroad in your life, and made a life-changing decision to continue your education.

    I was touched by the story of your father taking out a loan for the $100. There's nothing like a father's love for his children. As much as my earthly father loves me, I know my heavenly father loves me so much more!

    Blessings to the Killians and Olsens this Easter season…

    (Elaine, kiss those sweet kiddos of yours for me!)

  9. Oh Elaine, what a touching and beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it, it really blessed me! How blessed we are to have Dad's such as ours, I know so mahy that would give anything to have even known their Dad. I hope you and your family have an Easter that is truly touched with the blessings of the Lord's peace……as your beautiful blog is so aptly named! Lori

  10. I love the way you reach into your bag of memories and then weave us a collection of spiritual parallels. Nothing wasted. What an honor to your Dad. You honor us. You honor your Dad. You honor your "Father".

  11. What a wonderful story for your dad to share this Easter Season!!
    Blessings to the Olsens from the Whatleys this Easter..

  12. That's a beautiful story… Chuck, did you get to learn under James W Elliott? I have his book, "The Higher Way" and I have always wondered about him emphasising that we could know the presence of the Holy Spirit… I have always wanted that. I tried to contact James some years ago, but was told that he passed away 🙁 do you by any chance know much about this, or experienced what James shared in his book? James was from Marion College.

    Thank you 🙂 my email is

  13. Such a beautiful story and strong witness to God's grace! Yes, the best is yet to come! Blessings to you as we reflect with deep gratitude on what He did for us. And keep changing me, O Lord!

  14. A wonder-full Easter Sunday blessing to you and yours!

    May you experience the joy of the Truth this Resurrection Day – that we serve the Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

    Praise His name for His gift of salvation, and for the hope and promise of eternal life.


  15. Susan, thanks for mentioning this connection. I asked my dad about James Elliott and he remembers him, although he never had him as a professor. I've sent your message on to my father. Thanks for stopping by. You're always welcome here!

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