One Sunday morning as my 4- and 5-year-old sons were getting dressed for church, both insisted on bringing their wallets. My 5-year-old, Marion, had a brand new wallet with $1 in it. My 4-year-old had been given his as a birthday present, and in it were a 20-dollar bill and a dollar bill.
We sat through the service, both boys playing with their wallets, anxiously awaiting the passing of the offering plate. As the time drew near, both reached in and pulled out a dollar. The plate approached our pew, and they jumped up with excitement to throw in their money.
As the usher continued down the pews and my children resettled in their seats, my youngest opened his wallet and realized that he still had money—his $20 birthday money. He looked at me and said, "I have more. I didn't give it all." In a hushing and impatient tone, I told him to "hang on to it—you already gave your offering." His disapproval of my reply was obvious as he demonstrated a typical 4-year-old response: crossing his arms with a loud huff.
I sat there beside him, embarrassed that I had stopped him but unsure of how to proceed. Our pastor's sermon was on "sharing our abundance," and I was keeping Trey from giving with his heart. He was 4 and the value of his money meant nothing to him. He was only concerned with how good it felt to contribute. I — the adult — was the one getting in the way. So I whispered to him that if he wanted to give all his money to God, he could go ahead.
But I didn't expect (or intend) that he would jump up and head past the altar, past the pastor and assisting minister preparing communion, and empty the contents of his wallet into the offering plate and proudly head back to our pew. The gasp in the congregation turned into an amused murmur.
The look on his face was one of God's work being done despite our human interference. God used Trey as a means of teaching me the true meaning of giving it all up to God.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers