The Rich Family in Church
The Rich Family in Church
I was 14, little sister Ocy 12, and sister Darlene
16. We lived at home and the four of us knew what it was to do
without. Dad died five years before, leaving Mom with seven kids
and no money. My older sisters and brothers had left home. A
month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a
Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked
everyone to save and give sacrificially.
At home, we discussed what we could do. We would buy 50 pounds of
potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to
save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. If we kept our
lights off we'd save on the electric bill. We made things and
sold them and did odd jobs around the neighbors. That month was
one of the best of our lives. We counted the money and at night
we'd sit in the dark talking about the poor family enjoying
the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in
church, so figured that the offering would surely be large.
Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got three crisp $20
bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We had never had so
much money we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could
hardly wait to get to church! We sat in church proudly and I felt
rich. When the offering was taken, Mom put in the $10 bill, and
each of us kids a $20.
As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. That
afternoon the minister came to our door with an envelope. We
asked what it was, without a word mother opened the envelope and
out fell a bunch of money. Three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and
seventeen $1 bills. Mom put the money back in the envelope. We
didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone
from feeling rich to feeling like poor white trash. We had a
happy life and felt sorry for anyone less fortunate. We
didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but
I'd never thought we were poor. That day I found out we were.
The minister brought us the money for the poor family, so we must
be poor. I didn't like being poor and felt so ashamed--I
didn't want to go back to church.
We sat in silence for a time and we went to bed. All that week,
no one talked much. Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the
money. What did poor people do with money? We'd never known
we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but
Mom said we had to. At church a missionary speaker talked about
how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks,
but needed money to buy roofs. $100 would put a roof on a church.
The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these
poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled Mom reached
into her purse and pulled out the envelope and put it in the
The minister announced it was a little over $100. The missionary
was excited. He hadn't expected such a large
offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some
rich people in this church." We had given $87 of that
"little over $100." We were the rich family in the
church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From
that day on I've never been poor again. I've always
remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!