|(image from StAndrewsChurchSupply.com)|
Last Sunday, we were “just” on time. So, we sat in a rear pew in our church. No sooner did we sit down than did one of the elder gentlemen who always does the basket walk over to my husband and whisper in his ear a request to help with the offertory baskets. Of course, Mike accepted the offer.
While I was happy to see Mike able to serve our parish even if in such a small, temporary way, I wondered how things would go during the offertory without Mike in the pew to help with our three children. Too often, my oldest and at least one of his siblings bicker about who will get to put the envelope for the first collection into the basket, or one of them gets a coin because we have only two envelopes and they all cry “unfair” because they have different items to put in the collection baskets. Now, I know this means we have a long way to go in teaching about true fairness, charity, humility, etc. But, as I also know that teaching such things is a long-term endeavor, I was thinking less about what I still had to teach the children and more about how I would manage without Mike during the offering. I wasn’t as worried about the spiritual implications of the kids’ offering-time behavior as I was concerned about their behavior from very present and practical point of view: the possible need for a second set of arms to separate, hold or shush bickering babes during the offertory.
I should have trusted our Lord and his wisdom more.
For the first time in weeks, the kids were wonderful during the Offertory. When Mike went to get the basket and then walked down the aisle to begin offering it to fellow parishioners in the front pews, my three children all scrambled to the end of our pew to watch him. Enormous, proud and excited smiles beamed on each of their faces. They quietly, yet enthusiastically, asked why and how Daddy got to do the collection. They remained excitedly entranced as Daddy made his way up the aisle.
When Daddy got to our row, the children happily directed each other to place the correct envelope for the first offering into the basket that Daddy held out to them. Moreover, they did so without one ounce of whining, fighting or complaining. The child with the second collection envelope did not bully past the child holding the first collection envelop in order to throw the second collection one into the wrong basket. Nor did the child holding the second collection envelope hang a head, crying and pouting about being “last”. Nor did coins get pried from one child’s hands by another child with cries of “unfair” that one had a coin and another an envelope. In fact, it was with bursting anticipation, the children awaited Daddy to come up the aisle and with smiles, pride and excitement that they made our family’s first offering of the day.
Then, as Daddy went down the aisle for the second collection, the children’s joy remained. The second collection went as well as the first and ended with my oldest excitedly asking if Daddy can do the collection every week.
Hmmm... There I was worried that I would need a second set of arms to reign my kiddoes in as Daddy served as basket-holder for the day. Instead, I simply needed to trust and offer praise as my children happily offered envelopes and coins.
As I reflect on last Sunday, I recognize an important truth that our Lord reminded me of through this simple exchange last week: God calls each of us to serve in ways, great and small, every day. When we say “yes” to His call, everyone benefits. By seeking – or at the very least accepting – as many offers as possible to say “yes” to God, we exemplify for our young children the wisdom of God and the beauty borne from obedience.
In what small ways have you and the young children in your life said “yes” to God lately?
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