Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scouting out a Real Lesson

I was a boy of about nine years old and there was a Saturday afternoon Cub Scout activity at the large Presbyterian church my family attended. There were about 20 of us boys busy with our scouting activities, all under the watchful eyes of several volunteer parents. I don’t recall what the activities were, but I do remember seeing another activity that left a lasting impression. As I took a break and went into one of the restrooms off the fellowship hall of the church, I found another young boy, about a year or two older than me, cleaning the sinks. He looked up at me as I entered the restroom and quickly looked back down, as if he were a little embarrassed I’d found him cleaning the restroom. I’d seen the boy at school before, but I didn’t really know him. I wondered if he had gotten into some sort of trouble, or something. 
As I left the restroom, I went out into the hallway to get a drink and found the boy’s parents mopping the floor and dusting some bookshelves. I had to wait to get a drink because the boy’s little sister was wiping off the stainless steel of the water fountain. The whole family was cleaning the church building on a Saturday afternoon. I wondered what on earth was going on.

I went back into the fellowship hall, puzzled by what I’d witnessed. My nine year old curiosity got the best of me and I went up to one of the fathers helping supervise our activity. He was also one of the lay leaders of the church.

"Why are the Smiths cleaning up the church building? Are they our janitors?" I asked the man. He just smiled and shook his head...

Sometimes when Christians bring up the subject of giving, people get a little uncomfortable. There’s a reason that roughly 25% of all Jesus’s teachings regard money. That reason wasn’t that He was after our money. No, Jesus was, is, and always will be after our hearts. He knew that our relationship with money and material things would be a major hurdle for many to have a true spiritual relationship. In one instance, Jesus tells a rich young ruler to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and THEN he could follow Him. He encountered many other wealthy individuals, but there’s never another instance of Jesus telling someone to do this. He saw into the man’s heart. Matthew 6:21 says "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Each one of us has to ask, where is my heart, what do I treasure more than the relationship I have with the Father?

...In a compassionate voice, the man explained to me that the family didn’t feel like they had enough money to give to the church like they’d like to give, so once a month they worked in the church building to make up for it. Normally, no one would be here on Saturday, so they do it then...That idea was intriguing to my young mind. Here was someone who thought they didn’t give enough, in terms of money, so they were willing to give their own time in order to be able to give more. In that short, but powerful lesson I learned a lot about true giving.

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