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Single mom’s $20 energizes church building project

Is $20 enough to launch a capital campaign?  Yes, yes it is, when the gift is given with eagerness and excitement. My devotional reading today told the story of a single mom’s enthusiastic $20 gift to a church building project, a gift given as soon as she heard about it.  Her immediate response was only the second gift to the project: her generosity encouraged the entire congregation.  Author Elaine Maust writes that “the eager gift far exceeded its buying power.”  The eager gift far exceeded its buying power – I like that so much!

The accompanying text is 2 Corinthians 8:12 “If the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable.”

There’s two things that strike me here.  First, the significance of the gift and second, the willingness to celebrate generosity.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that for a single mom who struggles to get enough money to buy diapers, the $20 gift was at least as generous as a billionaire giving $400 million to Harvard.  Maybe more generous even, as she wouldn’t benefit from a tax credit or naming rights.

This giver was not afraid.  She was not afraid that her gift would not be enough.  She was not afraid that she might not have enough for her needs.  She trusted God to complete the project and to provide for her.  It reminds me of a poem I wrote and included as part of my thesis on giving (see picture).

I’m so glad that the church recognized and celebrated this woman’s gift.  Celebrating generosity is important in and of itself.  Celebrating generosity also gives an opportunity to talk about gratitude, trust, faith, fear and hope.  How can your congregation talk about the joy of giving?

Thanks to Elaine Maust from Jubilee Mennonite Church who wrote the June 28 reflection in Rejoice, published by Menno Media.

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