In today’s economy we are continually hearing about people who are losing their jobs, their homes, their health insurance. Many people have become frightened to spend what they are earning on anything other than basic necessities. And many devoted Christians have fallen victim to the fear of not having enough … enough money, enough food, enough shelter, enough ____, you fill in the blank. This fear has crippled many of us into closing our eyes and our hearts to the neediest among us. Charities are reporting lowered donations and an increased need for services. Churches are cutting programs and laying off staff members and many are only responding to their member needs instead of reaching out to the community.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 26, we read “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (verses 11-13). I can not help but think that Jesus was telling us that he would leave the poor among us SO WE could be His hands and feet. When we stop serving Jesus, we lose so much more than what could ever be gained through our own efforts. What do you think?
We never know what God will do with what he gives us….if we will just trust and give it back.
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it “was too crowded.” “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand he took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.
The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kind-hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.
Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting, which read, “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.” For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there. A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.
When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents. Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00–a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century).
Her unselfish love had paid large dividend. When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday school building which houses hundreds of Sunday Scholars, so that no child in the are will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, “Acres of Diamonds.”