A priceless gift

Mark 12:41-44New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Widow’s Offering
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

 

USA TODAY

Michelle Boudin, WCNC-TV, Charlotte 6:49 a.m. EDT April 30, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Someone attending a church service in Charlotte Sunday left behind an offering that has some recalling the story of Jesus and the widow’s offering.

The gift was a handful of change — 18 cents — with a simple note on the offering envelope:

“Please don’t be mad I don’t have much. I’m homeless. God bless.”

 

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The note reminded some of the story in the gospel of Luke. Jesus sees rich people making a show of their wealth with their donations to the temple, while a poor widow gives all she has, two coins. Jesus questions which person has really given more.

“I think this represents a sacrificial gift,” said the Rev. Patrick Hamrick of First United Methodist Church.

“It took some bravery, I think, to write that (note),” he said. “And for us, we acknowledge that individual gave out of his poverty proportionally a big deal.”

First United is nestled in uptown Charlotte, between a homeless shelter and the big banks the city has become known for.

“You’re literally right in between two very different worlds,” said Hamrick. “We are, and we see that. Sunday mornings we welcome a big crowd of people to come have breakfast with us. Some of them are coming from shelters.” The church’s “Muffin Ministry” may feed 150 on a given Sunday morning.

So it wasn’t unusual to have homeless people in the pews last Sunday, any one of whom might have made the offering.

Hamrick said the church has no plans to search out the donor, but will instead “honor the dignity of the individual who made this gift.”

Hamrick said he thinks if the person would come forward, “it would be amazing, because I have a feeling, there’s been enough groundswell of support that this person could probably get some additional assistance.”

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