Two nickels.

(Photo taken in December along the St. John's River.)

(Photo taken in December along the St. John’s River.)

This past Sunday a man, whom I don’t recall meeting before, approached me during the peace.

“Mother Beth,” he said with a sense of purpose that made me wonder what he wanted.

He held up his hand. “When is the basket?” he asked. There was a pause before he told me, “I have 10 cents.”

It was then that I saw the two nickels he pressed together carefully, holding them between his thumb and forefinger.

I pointed to a young boy named Skylar, who was visiting and eager to be put to work. “Watch for this young man. He’ll come around with it in just a minute.”

The man turned away and headed back to his perch along the low wall. I had a sinking feeling, wondering if I should have dispensed with the order of things to receive his offering on the spot. “God bless you!” I called to him.

That willingness to surrender all is humbling to behold.

I caught a glimpse of it in the fresh-faced young boy who wanted to be of service, even here in this parking-lot community that he was experiencing for the very first time.

I saw it in the vulnerable, pleading face of a downtrodden man who reached out, eager to be a part of, to give what he could.

And I saw it last Wednesday evening, when I shared my sense of call with two small congregations, west of Jacksonville. As is their custom, a small basket was set out during communion. Our “church without walls” ministry received its largest love offering ever.

Sometimes we can diminish what we have to offer so that it seems almost pointless to bother. But deep down within us we have a need to give, to connect. The imprint of God is in us. It is our nature to be generous. To throw caution to the wind. To give freely.

Lately, I am feeling a little weighed down. A tad weary. Like I don’t have any more to give. But, if I dig down, I know I can find my two nickels. And, for now, that will be enough.

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
This entry was posted in Christianity, congregational development, Diocese of Florida, Episcopal church, faith, Grace, Uncategorized, unity and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Two nickels.

  1. merryme says:

    This story reminds me of the time I was passing the collection plate. I started at the first row where the children’s choir was sitting. The first child in the pew was a visitor who came to church with a friend to sing in the choir. The young boy looked at me, then at the plate. He reached into his pocket, pulled out the stuff that little boys carry in their pockets. Among the detritus was one shiny penny. Holding the penny boy looked at me, questioning. I nodded. Into the plate went the penny, and the plate moved on down the pew. But in that instant, when our eyes met, I could tell the child was pleased and proud to be able to give. I learned a lesson that day about giving. It’s not how much you give that’s important. It’s the giving.
    Bless you for your work. I am sure you must get tired. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will infuse you with energy and when day is done help you to rest sweetly in God’s peace.

  2. Ann Brackin says:

    Thank you for your message. I am feeling very challenged this morning and needed the message. God bless you.

  3. Regina Pfohl says:

    Bless you, my dear Beth, in all you do each day — you inspire those near and far and we ALL support your work, and your walk! xoxo – gina

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