A simple offering

I found a little coin purse the other day. I never use a coin purse, as a matter of fact, this is the only one I’ve ever used. This one contained some very precious coins, though.

I typically travel on short-term mission trips as part of a team. There is typically a pastor leading the team, along with some other team members. A couple of times, however, I’ve been on my own.

It was during one of these trips that I was preaching at a small church in one of my favorite Russian villages, Illyinski, Russia.  The pastor there calls me “Dyadya Pasha”, or Uncle Paul.

After preaching the congregation took up an offering. I was blown away. This was a first. I had never received a love offering before. What made this even more special was that the people of this village are very poor. I immediately put the offering into a little change purse. To this day I have no idea why I was carrying a change purse. I never do.

Thirteen years later, I found the purse again. I counted the money (I must have counted it when I received the offering, but I don’t remember how much it was). When I counted it today and did the conversion to the US dollar, the coins are worth about 20 cents.

My question was never “what can I do with this money”, and, with it only being worth 20 cents today, I can’t ask this question now, either. However, my prayer is that God did something amazing with the seeds that the people of Illyinski planted all those years ago. Giving out of their poverty, it really reminds me of Luke 21, verses 3 & 4:

“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”