Heart Reflections Live
Friday, October 06, 2006
The Rich Family
This story is not written by me. I found it on the internet a couple of years ago, printed it out & put it in my Bible cover.This true story really refutes the false & distorted prosperity message that seems to be creeping in everywhere these days. Read & enjoy...
I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister, Ocy, was 12, & my older sister, Darlene was 16. We lived at home with our mother,& the 4 of us knew what it was to do without. My Dad had died 5 years before, leaving Mom with no money & 7 school-aged kids to raise.
By 1946, my older sisters were married & my brothers had left home. A month before Easter, the Pastor of our church announced that a special holiday offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save & give sacrificially.
When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes & live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible & didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house-& yard-cleaning jobs as possible, & both of us baby-sat for everyone we could. For 15cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make 3 potholders to sell for $1. We made $20 on potholders. That month was one of the best of our lives.
Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark & talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.
The night before Easter, we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, & the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart & her feet got wet.
But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about our old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, & I felt rich.
When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting in the 2nd row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, & each of us kids put in a $20 bill.
We sang all the way home from church. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, & we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon, the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, & then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope & out fell a bunch of money. There were 3 crisp $20 bills, one $10 bill & 17 $1 bills.
Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat & stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling poor. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom & our late Dad for parents & a house full of brothers & sisters & other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware & see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night. We had 2 knives that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.
That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family,so we must be poor, I thought. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress & worn-out shoes & felt so ashamed- I didn't even want to go back to church.Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!
I thought about school. I was in the 9th grade & at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the 8th grade. That was all the Law required at the time.
We sat in silence for a long time.Then it got dark & we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school & came home, & no one talked much. Finally, on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way. Mom started to sing, but no one joined in, & she only sang 1 verse.
At Church was had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa ma de buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister added, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other& smiled for the 1st time in a week.
Mom reached into her purse& pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, & I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.
When the offering was counted, the minister a announced that 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." Suddenly it struck us! 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.