Recently during my devotion, I came across the following story in the book, In Every Blade of Rustling Grass: Looking and Listening from God, (Abingdon Press, by Bass Mitchell). It spoke volumes to me. I hope it touches your heart, also.
A children's message.
I showed children the offering plates and asked them to tell me what they were for. They all knew that we put money in them. I asked them if they knew why we did this. They looked kind of confused (as did some of the people in the congregation, confused and a little concerned at the direction this was taking). I explained that we give for lots of reasons, but mainly to say "Thank YOU!" to God for all the blessings God gives us. Giving our money helps remind us that all we have comes from God; that we are dependent on God for everything. It’s a way of helping the church spread the news all over the world that God loves them and it is a way for us to help feed people and help people in many other ways. I gave each child 10 pennies. I explained the tithe, that is, if I were to tithe and give 10% of my income, it would be 1 penny from the ten. I told them about making an offering, which, to me anyway, means that which we give beyond the tithe, that is, 2 pennies or more. Then I asked them to come up and make their tithes and offerings in the plates before they went back to their seats. A couple turned and ran out, clutching their pennies in tight little fists (to the nervous laughter of some in the congregation). Others came forward (somewhat gloomily) and dropped a penny in the plate (to the silence of the congregation). Others dropped in a penny and one or two other pennies (some smiled in the congregation). The last child, a bright faced little girl with long brown hair that was tied with a yellow ribbon, came up to the table, stepped up on a step before it since she was so short, looked wide-eyed with wonder into the plate. She slowly put her hands over the plate, since it took both hands to hold the pennies, and let them all fall into the plate, the sound echoing through the sanctuary and she turned and bounded in joy out of the door with her other companions (some looking kind of uneasy out there and others joyous). Moved myself, I turned to the people and could only say, "I do not think I need to preach today.”
As I reflect upon this story, I know that it is easy for a child to give everything away, especially when it was given to them and they don't have the responsibility of family and daily living expenses. But, this story does lead me to reflect on my own giving and my own calling as a disciple of Jesus. How am I responding to all that God has done for and given to me? Am I, like the little girl, a cheerful giver? One who gives with joy, knowing that my gift will be used to help carry out God’s mission here at St. Luke’s Lutheran and around the world? In my questions, I know that God is with me helping me to grow in my life as a disciple of Jesus, and that as I wrestle with God, and myself, I know that God can and will do amazing things with the gifts of my time, talent, and treasure.
Let us pray: Loving God, your son came and taught us so many things and through such unexpected means. Jesus taught us about simple faith and trust through holding up the most powerless among us: children. Make me ever aware and alert to the many ways you teach us through others, especially the little ones you still hold and bless. Amen.
In Christ’s Light,
Reminder that Commitment Sunday Live Stream Worship is November 15 at 8:00, 9:30, & 11:00