It's getting time to consider tithing at church, and how simple it would be to just fill out the card and turn it in. But it's not meant to be that simple. I wish we could fill out our pledge cards like the youth did back when JT was in the first grade. As a family we sat and talked about what each of us could do. The children at our church also filled out pledge cards, and the boys agreed to give a portion of their allowance each week. Their cards also had other ways they could give. I remember the options included: serving as Acolyte, passing out bulletins, cleaning up after Sunday School, drawing pictures for Bulletins, etc. Then there was a blank space designated as "Other". I remember asking JT if there was anything else he could think of and put down. JT looked seriously at me and said "Mom, I give good hugs, I will promise to hug some old lady every Sunday". Well, I may not have written it down word for word ... in fact I am pretty sure I left out that "old lady" part. But JT kept that pledge, and those 'old ladies' looked forward to JT's hugs each Sunday. I realize many years later what a gift that was when a young first grader came up to me and hugged me. I am pleased to say that JT, maybe because of a pledge many years ago, is still a great hugger!
We know that Josh isn't the hugging type ... it's not his thing. But Josh has a wonderful, generous heart. I remember ... as a young mother who learned from the best - to always wrap their children up for the winter weather. My boys were dressed like the little brother in "A Christmas Story", the one that was so wrapped up he couldn't put his arms down. I had to do this ... they had to wait at a bus stop, and I had to make sure they were safe and warm - that's what mothers do. One morning I was 'preparing' them for the winter elements, and couldn't find Josh's scarf. They had a designated place to keep their items, so when I couldn't find it, I questioned Josh. He looked at me and simply said "Mom, there was a boy at the bus stop without gloves and a hat." I was proud of Josh to think of sharing what he had, and gave him an extra pair of gloves to give to the boy that day if he still wasn't wearing them. One of the things we do as a church every year is our Mitten Tree, and I love knowing that Josh as an adult purchases items to put on that tree. What I saw a few years ago reminded me of the bus incident. We had gone to Indianapolis to listen to the Symphony, it was a cold evening in February. After the concert we went out for pizza and had leftovers so put it in a box to take home. We were walking the few blocks to the car, and had to walk by some homeless men sitting under an overpass. My 'mother' antenna was up and I was alert and watching to make sure no harm was done to my sons. Josh walked over to two men, gave them the pizza, took off his hat and gloves and gave them to the men. Nothing said, nothing expressed. JT, seeing what his brother had done, turned around and went and did likewise.
Years later, they may still not be in a position to pledge much in a financial sense - JT still a starving student and all - but they give. They give of their time, their talents and their hearts. What does the Lord require of us? "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8.
He shows us in the action of our Youth .... may we take the time to notice. They give much more than we often see. Our Youth is our future; these Youth are our heart.