57 Cents

“A SOBBING LITTLE GIRL STOOD NEAR A SMALL CHURCH FROM WHICH SHE HAD BEEN TURNED AWAY BECAUSE IT WAS ‘TOO CROWDED’. “I CAN’T GO TO Sunday School,” she sobbed to the minister as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the minister guessed the reason and taking her by the hand, he took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to Worship Jesus.”

“Two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kind-hearted minister who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements. As her poor body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting which read, “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school.” For two years she had saved her offering of love.”

“When the minister tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying the note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his congregation to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.”

But the story doesn’t end there.

“A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the small congregation for 57 cents. Church members made donations. Checks came in from far and wide. Within five years, the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 – a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid great dividends.”

“The next time you are in the city of Philadelphia, be sure to look up the church that has a seating capacity of 3,300. And while you are there, visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated. Have a look at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which hoses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that NO CHILD IN THE AREA WILL EVER NEED TO BE LEFT OUTSIDE DURING SUNDAY SCHOOL TIME.”

“In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of a little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history.” (This story which came from a friend was confirmed by Temple University -JHE)

You remember the ‘common’ woman who bathed the feet of Jesus with precious ointment of Spikenard from an alabaster box. When some of his disciples were indignant about such a ‘waste’, Jesus said, “Let her alone . . . for she hath done what she could . . . And wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of her as a memorial of her” (Mark 14:1-9).

The sacrifice of 57 cents from the heart of a little girl must remind us all of what the prophet Isaiah said, “And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

Giving is a marvelous grace. God does not bestow it on congregations or corporate bodies. He gives it to the individual. Our problem is we don’t know HOW MUCH IS MUCH!

The answer to that question is best seen in one of the stories related by Mark.

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much.”

“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, that all they which have cast into the treasury;” This was not the Jewish tithe, but a free will offering at the Temple door where you could give to various needs. The poor, the foreigner, the widow and orphans could be blessed and receive help.

How could two mites (less than half of a U.S. penny) be more than all the contributions of the rich? The answer is given in the following verse, “For all they had much, and all they gave much, and all they kept much, and that NOT MUCH. She had little and gave it all” (An Exum translation on verse 44 – Mark 12:41-44). This poor widow had nothing left – no money for food or rent or other necessities.

   That’s MUCH!

Fifty-seven pennies! Two Mites! How much is much?

   All that she had. No money left for milk or food or rent or other necessities – she gave it all. 57 cents – that not much and two mites is even less. The power in the grace of giving is found in the one who knows how much much really is.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)


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