Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hailey, Chris and the Penny

During church Sunday morning Hailey learned to count to five with her grandma. She held hands with her daddy, memorizing his smile and each of his fingers. She sang like her mom who was on stage helping to lead our worship songs.

With a pile of pennies tucked into her chubby little fist, Hailey patiently waited to give them to God. As she was dropping them in the offering plate one at a time, a single penny went wayward across her chair, rolling to the floor and out of reach.

Chris, an elder who was passing the offering plate, loves Hailey. He has been watching her grow and praying for her heart to be tender toward God since she was born. Hailey is growing up in the church.

My husband and I spend our Monday nights in a state women's prison loving people to Jesus. Frequently we ask the group of women if they went to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School or church camp. I get a rush of joy every time I see all the hands going up.

"My grandma took me to church every Sunday. We always sat on the second row. I still know those songs."

"We had a neighbor that took us to Vacation Bible School. It was the only time all summer I would get cookies and Kool-aid. I loved the crafts we made."

"I never went to church on Sundays, but I always went to church camp with my best friend. Every year."

Chris got on his knees and chased the penny under the chair. He picked it up and gave it to Hailey so that she could put it into the offering plate. Hailey beamed up at him with delight and pride in getting to be a part of the worship of giving.

Chris won't remember that he did that for Hailey. Hailey won't remember giving God that penny. None of us will remember that particular Sunday.

But such moments have eternal value, even though forgotten.

Hailey has been loved in our church. She has not only love, but faith tucked into her jacket as she journeys into life. Her heart is tender toward God, ready for him to mold someday when hope is illusive and peace gets shattered.

Look around you for the little ones. Who might like a ride to church this Sunday if only you would ask?

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