Sunday, May 24, 2009
The young boy had a dollar in his hand. He had found it somewhere in the church. His Grandfather, who was standing nearby, said, "Son, tell Rev. Bill what you are going to do with that dollar." Somehow I already knew. For a moment it was like seeing myself fifty years ago. I listened to him say, "I'm going to put it in the offering plate next Sunday." From me it prompted a story of a childhood memory.
It was not dollar bills that I found at church, but coins. At the time we attended the Hebardville Methodist Church on the edge of Waycross, Ga. It was a small church on a corner. The parking lot was the grassy area next to to the Sanctuary. One Sunday I found a quarter in the church parking lot as I was walking home. Grassy parking places are unlike their asphalt counterparts. On grassy parking places coins make soft silent landings, mostly unnoticed to the person who pulls a coin or two out of his pocket with the car keys. After finding the first quarter, I started looking for others. It was not always a fruitful search, but often enough to keep me looking. When my Mother found out about the coins I was finding on the church parking lot, she said, "Since you found them at church, they belong to God so put them in the offering next Sunday." So, I did and so I learned an important lesson about giving to God.
However, it was not my first such lesson. Already she had taught me about tithing or giving a tenth of what I earn to God. Mom always said a tithe, a tenth, belongs to God. To this day I practice that spiritual discipline. However, as an adult I have learned she was wrong. It is not just the tithe of my money which belongs to God, but all of it!