As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 35 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids (today our girls, particularly) to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.
Something significantly insignificant happened one Sunday when I was a child. I do not know why it has remained with me so long, but it impacted my thinking forever about dreaming big for God and about putting missions into the hearts of my children.
To my knowledge, every single time a missionary came through Birmingham and spoke at the Adamsville Church of Christ, the elders allowed him to ask the members for financial support. They were not afraid of the financial drain that this might put on the local treasury. They just helped out of that treasury and then they made the appeal to the people. They made sure to know, to the best of their ability that he was a faithful teacher and then they promoted the giving. I remember having some of those missionaries over at our house for Sunday supper. I can specifically remember some of the questions my daddy asked on those occasions. He wanted to know about the culture in India, for instance.
Most importantly, I remember my father writing out a check each time and contributing to each work. I also remember being encouraged personally to go to my own little purse or piggy bank and bring the smallest of gifts to give to the “work”. Once, I remember, I was small and my contribution was very small…52 cents.
That evening when we went to services the total contribution for this foreign work was posted on the “number board” beside the pulpit. It read something like $3459.52. I remember looking at that number from my seat beside my parents and thinking “There it is. My 52 cents!” I knew, even then, that without my 52 cents, those numbers at the end of that big number would have been zeros. I was glad that I had filled in those digits with real numbers. At the time, I thought it was important. Now, I know it was important.
That’s why I wanted my kids to go to their piggy banks when the missionaries came round. Maybe that’s part of the reason I wanted them to write letters to missionaries and, finally, to go with missionaries and see the work and even do the work. The 52 cents, as you know, is unimportant. But what you may be putting in the heart of your child is eternally valuable. I’m thankful for a father who wrote the check and a mother who fried the chicken. Mostly, I’m thankful for parental encouragement to give the 52 cents. That 52 cents has been a good investment. In some ways, I think it is still working in my life and in the lives of my children. I hope it will even work in the life of my little grandson, Ezra. You never know what 52 cents can buy.