I was recently told about a discovery found in the offering plate. It was genuine US currency. Cash. Sort of. But not the spendable kind.
Someone had taken a twenty dollar bill meticulously torn approximately one-tenth of that twenty and placed the sliver in the offering plate.
That’s right. Someone put one-tenth of a twenty dollar bill in the offering plate!
Just enough to know what it was…but not nearly enough to claim as legal tender. The same cannot be said of the ninety percent of the bill the owner still possesses. They can still spend it. We cannot. The bank will replace theirs, the bank will destroy ours. We have their tithe…sort of.
I have no way of knowing if this is just a joke. I don’t know if after making this contribution the giver made another donation instead. We didn’t receive the rest of that bill in that day’s offering or any other day since. I’m not sure if it is someone just seeking a mention in a sermon or a Ponder. If so, then congratulations…I’ll give them one, but not the other. I have no way of knowing what they meant. Maybe you do.
It reminds me of another time in my life, in another church setting, where I watched someone put a twenty in the offering plate and take out two tens. They didn’t give; they just made change!
We do funny things with our money. If we are honest, we know we do. Even with church money, folks sometimes attach strings or designate or posture what they want the church to do. Stewardship experts claim money is the last thing in and the first thing out in terms of church connection.
As if it truly is our money. When will we learn?
Every church does worthy things with the resources they are given. We take care of abused and neglected mothers, we celebrate our High School Seniors, we send a mission team to a far away place, and on and on.
Ours is not a church that makes light of all things donated. We know it’s not our money we are playing with. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the why in what we do. It is good to say out loud why it is we worship, invite, and give.
Everything we have and hope for is because someone was torn, was broken, for us.
We should always remember that. Especially in our giving.
(Original content written April 2009, edited March 2015)