I’m guessing he was about four years old. He held treasure in a clutched fist held out over the collection plate. He didn’t let go. His father, holding the youngster on his lap, was in no hurry. I, however, held my breath to see if his fingers would unfurl.
Inside those few moments of drama these thoughts raced through my heart. What was clasped in that dimple-knuckled hand? Where did he get whatever riches he possessed? Was it a gift from his dad? Did he earn it by doing chores? Was he reluctant to give it away? Was he simply basking in the sacred, timeless space of something we call worship?
Then came another flash of questions that pierced my heart and reddened my cheeks. What treasure had I brought? What gifts had I received? Did I earn it? Did I deserve it? Would I give it away, give it back? Well, I’m pondering these questions because, actually, I’d brought nothing. I casually took the empty plate and passed it along, still empty.
In slow motion the boy’s fingers opened. Out tumbled a single copper metal coin catching the reflection of the altar’s candlelight as it fell.
With one hand his father passed along the plate, while, with the other, he rustled his son’s sandy-blonde hair. The child’s smile mirrored that of his dad. The child’s smile mirrored that of his Father.
Take a Deep Breath of Remember.
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 (NIV).
Photo Credit: Ron Silflow