One of my fondest memories of church was when it was time to pass the offering plate. I would get so excited because usually during the blessing prayer my mom would slip a dollar bill into my hand. There was always something special about being able to put that money in the plate all by myself. It made me feel important and like I could contribute something. As I got a little older, there were a few times when I thought I could just slip that dollar in my pocket instead of the plate. But I never did, not once. I don't know if my mom ever explained it to me, but somehow I knew that was God's money that I was entrusted with and I was so proud to give it back.
We have continued this tradition with CT and as he's gotten older he's even tossed his own allowance in the plate a time or two. When we got to El Sembrador, we noticed that so many kids have nothing to give when the basket is passed. They've probably never had that satisfaction of knowing that God is going to do something great with that dollar bill. So, every week we take out a handful of bills and discreetly pass them to the boys around us who have nothing to give. Every week I watch closely. These are kids that have nothing...have had nothing and this is an important decision to make. Should they stick this bill in their pocket or will they somehow know the empowerment of a giving spirit? Not once have I been disappointed.
I have learned so much from these youth. They have nothing to give yet they give so freely. I am inspired by them. When I look back at this year at El Sembrador, I hope these memories will remind me that the blessings I am given do not belong to me. I have been entrusted with them and I am faced with the same important decision we face every week when the offering plate is passed. Do I slip it in my pocket or do I give it back to my God?
Yesterday morning in church, I took out my little wad of bills and looked around for the boys who needed it this week. I found none...because the boy next to me took out his wallet and silently slipped a bill to each of his neighbors. Thank you, Lord, for these moments.