Remember the Offering

Remember the Offering

Something strange happened in church one Sunday, and the pastor saw what happened. Now, he was the President's pastor and he could not help but see what was going on down there in the pew where the President of the United States sat with his wife and his two teenage boys. What the pastor saw he told a friend who told me, and now I am telling you. It happened this way.

Mr. Calvin Coolidge, one of our Presidents, had two sons, John and Calvin, Jr. They sat with their father and Mrs. Coolidge in the family pew up near the front of the church. You see, our Presidents, being wise men, do not try to sit in the way-back seats, for they like to be up front to see everything—the way we do at basketball games.

The Coolidge family attended the First Congregational Church in Washington, our nation's capital. Their pastor's name was Dr. Jason Noble Pierce.

President Coolidge was a good father who carefully taught his boys (they were about twelve and fourteen years old) to be quiet and reverent in church and to try to listen to the sermon. And Mr. Coolidge also had taught his sons to give an offering each Sunday out of their weekly allowance. Mr. Coolidge, like all good church fathers, wanted John and Calvin to remember that all we have comes from God our Father. He wanted the boys always to say "Thank you" to God by giving some of their own money and placing it on the offering plate.

But one Sunday when the offering was being taken a strange thing happened. The usher standing at the pew handed the offering plate to the President, who always sat at the end of the pew next to the aisle. Mr. Coolidge first put his offering on the plate, then Mrs. Coolidge put her offering on the plate. John put his offering on the plate, but Calvin, Jr. did not put his offering on the plate. The plate was passed back to the usher in the aisle who went to the other pews, and after finishing taking the offering joined the other ushers at the back of the church.

Why did Calvin, Jr. not put his offering on the plate? Did he forget it? Did he think his father did not see him holding back? Did he want to keep the money to spend for something he wanted for himself? Or did he just decide he did not feel like saying "Thank you" to God that morning? Well, no one knows. But this is not the end of the story.

All the ushers in the church had finished taking up the offering through the pews and had joined together in a group, marching down the center aisle of the sanctuary to the front of the church When they reached the President's pew, Mr. Coolidge leaned over the edge of the pew and touched the elbow of the usher next to him. The usher stopped, surprised, wondering what could be wrong.

"Please give me the offering plate," said the President in a low whisper. The usher handed the plate to the President. Everyone in the church was now wondering what could be happening. What did they see?

They saw Mr. Coolidge pass the plate down the pew to his boy who was holding back his money. In a low, soft voice the President said, "Son, your offering please." Blushing and with a quick motion the boy reached into his pocket and took out his offering and put it on the plate. During the hush in the church, Mr. Coolidge returned the plate to the usher, and the ushers then continued their march down the aisle to receive the prayer of blessing over the offering.

"Well, there's one father," the people in the church nodded, "who wants his boy to learn always to say 'thank you' to God and never to refuse to give his offering in church." And you may be sure that young Calvin never held back his offering again.

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