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Giving Joyfully

If I serve another 25 years in ministry and live to be 100, I will be surprised if I ever encounter another person who gives a gift to the church more joyfully than the gift I received from one of our third graders, Tabitha Aloo.

Tabi skipped up to me at fellowship hour recently, swinging a handful of change that she had stored in a plastic baggie, and she said to me, “Pastor Arlene, here is my offering! I wanted to give it to you personally.”

“Wow,” I said, as I held out my hand and received it. “Thank you, Tabi. Is this your offering for something special, or did you want your gift to be part of the regular Sunday offering?”

Without blinking, she said, “It’s $5.50. That’s a lot of money! I saved for a really long time! I want it to go for the whole church! I want it to help EVERYBODY!!!”

“OK! I said. “I’ll make sure that Michael (our Associate Treasurer) receives your offering, and that he knows exactly what your intentions are for your gift.”

If someone had captured our exchange on video, I would have posted the clip on YouTube and watched it 100 times. I would have created a link to our church website and Facebook page. I would have tweeted a link to everyone who follows us on Twitter, and forwarded it to all of my friends via email.

Surely the story would have gone viral by now, because everyone would finally know what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

As it turns out, there is no video footage of this exchange. There were only two eye witnesses, and they were about Tabi’s age. So I am mostly left with the same kind of low-tech options that Jesus had for passing on great stories like this. You will have to imagine the skipping, the exuberance, and the joy for yourself.

If the story goes viral, it will be because Tabi’s example taps in each of us the same kind of joy that exudes from her, and from every glad and generous heart.

Happy Thanksgiving,