Friday, November 2, 2012

Not Some, But All

My Mother always had a strong sense that some of what we have belongs to God.  My first experience at making money took me to the streets of downtown Waycross, Georgia where I hawked boiled peanuts for ten cents a bag.  Now no respecting parent would send their child across the tracks to town alone to sell something on a street corner, but it was a different world back in the '50's.  What surprised me after my first Saturday on the job was my  Mother telling me  that 10% of what I earned belonged to God and would go in the offering plate at church the next day.  Looking back I am glad she was an Old Testament person who believed in the tithe and not a New Testament person who took Jesus seriously when He said, "…sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor….  (Mt. 19:21)

But, I also remember another time when she taught me to give to God what belonged to Him.  I was probably about ten years old.  We were attending the Hebardville Methodist Church on the north side of Waycross.  It was a small neighborhood church.  The parking lot was a grassy corner and field behind the building.  Since we lived only two streets over from the church, we walked to church on Sunday.  One Sunday after church as I was walking through the parking area, I found a quarter lying on the ground.  Finding one caused me to start looking for others.  I learned that when car keys were pulled out of a pocket, a coin or two would often come out as well.  Since the parking area was dirt and grass, they made silent landings and the owner never heard the sound of silver hitting concrete.  Walking slowly through the parking area after church on the way home turned into a profitable exercise for a ten year old boy. 

When my Mother discovered what was happening, she put an end to my new economic venture by telling me, “Since you found it on the church ground, it belongs to God so you put it in the offering plate next Sunday.”  I did what she said, but it sure took some of the fun out of looking for lost coins.  However, what she did say to me was a word about giving to God what belonged to Him.   It is a Word which has never been forgotten.  It was a Word which finally caused me to realize that it is not just some of what we have which belongs to Him, but all.

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