Stones of Remembrance
Testimonies of God's faithfulness through the years
Written by: Tom Schmidt
I found myself in a place I had never voluntarily been before. Unemployed. I was discouraged and stressed. I could not even afford the COBRA insurance policy from my former employer.
I was a young married man with a son recently diagnosed with hemi-paresis cerebral palsy and no health insurance, no job and no real savings. I held onto the One thing I did have- HOPE. Hope in a God who is much bigger than all my problems then and now. During prayer after Tommy was diagnosed, we had felt reassurance that God would take care of Tommy and his needs.
I was doing odd jobs for friends, painting houses and catering when possible. I went to a “headhunter” on the advice of a friend from First United Methodist Church. We met, I filled out information and the waiting began.
Meanwhile, I dove into The Word and really engaged in the church community. Promise Keepers was popular, and I attended a few events. I also went to United Methodist Men’s meetings and the weekly Bible study and fellowship time of a local ministry called In His Great Love.
One Sunday morning we went to our Sunday School class, The Good Shepherd. It was held in the gym, right before church service. I will never forget this day. The opening of class was pretty normal, until one of the leaders stepped up and said something like: “Folks, we do not normally do this. But, there is one of our own who is really going through some challenging times. I am not going to say who it is, but trust me, they could use some help. So today, we are going to take up an offering. We are just going to pass this basket, put whatever you can whatever you feel led to give in there.”
Immediately, I prayed and felt like I was supposed to give “everything in my wallet”. Now, I really did not know how much I had in there, so I pulled out my wallet and looked. It was two measly wrinkled one-dollar bills. I was a little embarrassed about that being all I had to offer. But I really felt led to give. The verses of Luke 21:1-4 kept running through my mind.
In that passage, Jesus is with His disciples and He observed a poor widow giving "two mites" as her offering. "Two copper coins would be an easy offering for most of these people", Jesus said. (paraphrased) "They give out of their surplus, a mere token of the what is extra. But this woman, she gave what she had. She has not held anything back. THAT is an offering of the heart, one that is pleasing to God. As if He needs money, He wants your heart and your confidence. She will be honored for her faith."
That lesson, for whatever reason, was rolling around in my mind as the basket was passed. We were sitting in the front right-hand side of the room. The basket did not make it up to my side. When the leader spoke, he said: “You can make check out to FUMC or put cash in the basket, both are fine. Is there anyone else who would like to give?” I raised my hand as he walked over with the little basket. I dropped in my meager offering, saying to myself: “I can’t do much with this Lord, but You can.”
The story does not end there. Sunday school continued as normal, dismissing us with plenty of time to get to the sanctuary for worship. After service ended, we left out through the doors that would have us come out on the second floor, proceeding downstairs to the nursery to pick up little Tommy. Ms. Ruby had little Tommy all squared away. Clean britches, diaper bag packed. We gathered him up and began walking out to the parking lot.
As we made our way through the lobby. A voice called out from the stairwell. “Hey! Hey Tom. I need to talk to you.” I looked up and it was our Sunday school leader moving quickly down the stairs. He led me over to a corner of the foyer and said: “Hey, that family we took up the offering for…that was ya’ll.” Handing me an envelope bulging open, he told me there was a check in there from the church made out to me and the rest was cash for us.
I could hardly say thank you. My throat was tight. My eyes were stinging. I made it out to the little red Nissan Sentra, sat down and started the car to get the A/C started. Holly buckled Tommy’s car seat in and I started to count the money. There was a check, a couple of hundred-dollar bills, a bunch of twenty’s, several tens, quite a few fives and tucked away on the side TWO, measly wrinkled one-dollar bills.
I could not believe it. I sat there in the parking-lot, laughing and crying at the same time. That day, God taught me about giving, not to "get" but out of love for Him, confidence in Him and in obedience to Him. It was a lesson about trusting Him. I learned about His provision. I also learned how to receive gracefully that day.
I will never forget that day. THAT DAY- that lesson- A stone of remembrance in our life on obeying the nudging, giving, receiving, the love and care of of the Body of Christ, and trusting God for our disabled son to receive care.
In your moments of trials and tribulations- relational, financial, emotional, physical. Trust God. You have trusted Him with your eternity, can you trust Him with your tomorrow?
Pray, listen, obey- in tithing and giving, serving, working, speaking, everything!
Allow what God has put in your life to overflow into the lives of others.