For a third consecutive year, the elementary school aged children at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church completed a very special offering project. The confirmation of that special project arrived today.
What project was that?
That very special project was to buy a goat and two chickens for a family in Africa. The animals were purchased today through World Vision. The cost of a goat and two chickens is $100, and it is still the best deal. The time frame was by no coincidence the season of Lent. The children could help lift the yoke of oppression—in this case the oppression of extreme poverty—by their gift.
This special project for these very young children differed from others in several ways. First, the children were asked to earn the money themselves—not to pester mom and dad or grandma and grandpa for the cash.
Parents were asked to provide jobs for these children that ranged in age from just old enough to walk to the front of the church for the children’s time to fifth graders. Taking out the trash, clearing the table, or rotating the tires on the car were suggested tasks. The idea driving this approach was that children would earn their money and then decide whether to give it to help a family with almost nothing or to keep it.
This sort of giving is hard to learn as an adult but essential to living the abundant life that God desires for us.
Most of the children were excited about helping a family that they didn’t know that lived on the other side of the world. The corollary to deciding what to do with money that one has earned also trains young people in understanding what it is to be rich towards God, if they choose to make the offering that is.
Most of the children couldn’t wait to make their offering. Some didn’t wait. As soon as they saw the special offering container made just for this Goat and 2 Chickens offering, they were running to it and making their offering. This is what you call joy in the offering.
By Easter Sunday the children had raised $178. This enabled the children to purchase a goat and two chickens, ducks, and help with clean water. In genuine Presbyterian tradition, the children decided what to buy with the extra $78 by committee.
Most of the ministries of this congregation reach out a few miles into the community. This special project reached the other side of the world.
These children are learning what it is to be God’s love in action.