For over a year, we have partnered with an apartment complex that helps adults with special needs who have transitioned out of government aid (they are over 21) to learn to live and work independently. The partnership started because the property manager was looking for a way for the residents to have Christmas. What we found was that the things the residents wanted for Christmas were things for setting up an apartment: a crockpot, towels, dishes, pots and pans. Because many of them were living on fixed income, they would have had to save for months before being able to purchase even one of these items.
After our initial meeting over a year ago, several of the residents began to come to church on Wednesday and/or Sunday morning. In fact, they helped us move by working the yard sale as well as helping to pack box after box. They also began to participate in our Sunday School and weekly Bible Study as well as offering to help with special events like our Fall Festival. They were actively giving to our community through their time and service.
We had no new members program that they went through that taught what it meant to be a church member or what faith means because they might just been teaching us more about faith than we are teaching them. A couple of weeks ago, as the offering plate went by, one of the residents reached into her purse and took at all the change. As the offering plate went by, she opened her hand letting all the change fall into the offering plate.
This will be one of those of moments I won’t ever forget as a minister. She had no concern for a tax-deductible gift. She had no direct teaching on why or how to give to the church. She has no expendable income to give. She just gave all she had.
Maybe that’s what church is after all. Not about what we can get from church, but about giving everything we have without expecting anything in return.