“The Poor Rich Family in the Church”

“The Poor Rich Family in the Church”

The Pastor announced a special offering to be taken on Easter Sunday for a very poor family in the church. Times were tough in 1946! Everyone was asked to give sacrificially. Our family bought 50 lbs. of potatoes & decided to live on them for a month so we could give in the offering. We turned off all electricity in the house & used candles. The 10 & 12 year old girls cleaned houses. At the end of the month we had made $20. We took our earnings and cashed it in for a crisp new $20 bill. No one in the family got new Easter clothes.  All total, our family saved $70 for the sacrificial offering to be given to the poor family. The family was so excited to give our $70 that Easter Sunday. The kids’ shoes had lots of holes, so we stuffed them with cardboard since it was raining so hard that Sunday. Alas, the cardboard got wet and our toes showed through the  worn shoes, but that was okay, because we couldn’t wait to help the poor family in the church.

After the morning service where we proudly, but anonymously, gave our $70, Momma had a surprise Easter dinner. She had saved enough to buy a dozen eggs that we boiled and colored. That day, we had fried potatoes and Easter boiled for eggs for Sunday dinner.

Late that afternoon the pastor drove up to our house. Mom answered the door. The minister gave her an envelope. Inside was the $70, plus 17 $1 bills. We were stunned with those funds. Could it be that everyone thought we were the poor family in the church? We felt like millionaires, not poor white trash! We had a mom and a dad. We had a house full of brothers and sisters. We thought it was fun to share the few spoons and forks, and to see which one of us got the forks and who got the spoons to eat with. We had two knives to pass around, if we needed to cut meat … when we got meat to eat. We never knew we were poor. We started to sing the rest of our day through, then put the money back in the envelope.

We heard of a missionary coming to our church from Africa. We heard how they ate boiled grains, and churches were made of mud and manure bricks. The Africans had built a new church, but they didn’t have a roof. The roof would cost $100. So, we decided to eat potatoes for one more month. When it was time to take the offering we were able to add $17 to the envelope holding $70. The missionary wept, saying “You must have some rich people in your church!” The missionary hadn’t thought this little church could give $100, but our poor family gave $87 that Sunday, and the rest of the church gave $13.

Suddenly it struck us! We weren’t the poor family in the church. We were the richest family in the church!

This is a true story, written by Eddie Ogan, one of the women from our church in Colville, WA. Later, I was able to take Eddie to Africa, which had been her life-long dream!

I wonder:  When was the last time we did our best giving to Jesus?

Pastor Stan Rutkowski