by Kris Brugamyer
At worship one year, 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.
She gave the children 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. She would ask them to share what they did with the money at worship the next week.
The following Sunday, my pastor invited children who had received a five-dollar bill the week before to come forward and tell what they did 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 requested as part of a Love Offering that would at their upcoming convention.
These children were all grade-school aged. I was amazed at their understanding of what it means to give to others who need help–be it a person, a special cause, or an organization that benefits 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 Women of the ELCA participants learn from these young givers?
Kris Brugamyer, of Dickinson, N.D., served on the Women of the ELCA executive board. This blog first ran in October 2013.