At worship recently, my pastor invited children to come forward at the end of her sermon to receive a gift. Each child who came up received a business-sized envelope containing five dollars from our congregation’s Trust Fund. The children were given only one instruction. They could not spend the money on themselves. They were encouraged to find some way to use it in the upcoming week. She suggested they find someone who needed the money more than they did, and she told them they’d have an opportunity to share what they did with the money at worship the next week.
As promised, the following Sunday my pastor invited children who had received a five dollar bill at worship the week prior to come forward to tell what they done with their gift. Their stories were touching. One child said her grandpa had Parkinson’s disease, so she gave her five dollars to an organization that is working to find a cure for it. Another said he gave his money to the area ELCA Bible Camp. Another said he gave his money to a homeless person. When questioned how he knew the person was homeless, he said he gave it to a program at his school that will help the homeless. Yet another said her parents matched her five dollars, and she spent the resulting ten dollars on items our synod’s Lutheran Youth Organization was requesting as part of a Love Offering that would be received at their upcoming convention.
These children were all grade-school aged. I was amazed at the depth of their understanding what it means to give to others who need help, be it a person, a special cause, or the work of an organization that benefit others.
I imagine it was tempting for each to think about what they could have gotten for themselves with this free money, but they rose to the challenge. What lessons can we learn from these young givers?
Kris Brugamyer, of Dickinson, N.D., serves on the churchwide executive board.
Photo by The Comedian. Used with permission.