Monday, November 24, 2014

Throw Away Offerings

They were outgrown, used books sitting on a shelf in a dear friend's house. 
Just a box of old homeschooling books.
They were worth about as much as the loaves and fishes the little boy brought to Jesus.  Not much worth when 5,000 needed to be fed.
But those books make for a delightful tale on this Marvelous Monday....
Back in September, we committed to being Warriors for Ruslan before we had any idea we might be adopting again.  Little girls and bows and braids were NOT on our radar.  Angel Tree babes and Ruslan and yelling for orphans was going to be our Christmas focus.


So we committed to Ruslan with big plans not knowing that only a few weeks later God would led our hearts in a new direction.
A little girl.  Who had only $7.50 in her grant account.
That's all she had when God tapped on our hearts.
How in the world were we going to raise money for both?
Two things I knew - I did not want to raise Ruslan's money only on this blog.  Awareness. Yes.  Money. No.  I wanted to expand outside this blog so that others would SEE Ruslan.  Tap new hearts. Open new eyes.  I also did not want our adoption needs to trump the needs of the Angel Tree. I LOVE THE YEARLY ANGEL TREE.  I love rooting and shouting for those babes. 
In order to get Ruslan to his $1,000 goal....
We decided to take all the samples and scratch and dent BiblioPlan material we had and sell them in a private group on FB to people who homeschool and use BiblioPlan. We would pay for shipping and donate the books which was our contribution to our sweet Ruslan.  All the money for the books would go directly into Ruslan's account. 
We made $640.00 selling our used books.  We were thrilled!! And in the process a whole bunch of people who knew nothing about Reece's Rainbow were seeing Ruslan and having their hearts touched.
Then we ran out of books.
Now what?
I had NO more ideas.

I was honestly stressing over this. 
But I wasn't alone because both last year and this year a dear friend from our homeschooling co-op had committed to helping me raise Ruslan's money. She has a sweet treasure herself and is a HUGE supporter of all of my wacky schemes on this blog.
It was her box.
One single box of books.
She saw the books sitting on a crowded bookshelf in her home.  Outgrown books her children didn't need anymore. Maybe, just maybe she could raise a few dollars for Ruslan.  5.00.  10.00.  Maybe someone would be kind enough to add in some change from their pockets?  Maybe?
She put a notice in our co-op's weekly newsletter, printed off a picture and had her son carry the box to the car.
It poured rain on Monday.
The box of books got wet.
The Donation sign dripped rain.
Ruslan's picture wouldn't stand up straight but instead sagged over his donation bucket.
And the co-op officers weren't quite sure they wanted someone selling books when the normal policy is that all donated books are free for anyone to take.
I was there.  I walked in when she was setting up. I watched her set up her little display. I was touched.  I didn't think it would amount to much unless people gave donations but it was BEAUTIFUL. To see Ruslan's sagging droopy picture over that donation bucket knowing that 250+ families would see him just warmed my heart on that nasty rainy day! I saw the officers trying to figure out what to do and I prayed hard that they would let her keep it up.
After teaching my first class I went out to check on the display and saw it had not been taken down. There was money in the bucket.  MONEY FOR RUSLAN.  YIPEEE!!!  I couldn't tell how much but I could see a few dollars and change. 
A few classes later I checked again but the box was gone. 
I wondered how much my friend raised.  Maybe 10.00.  20.00.  Wouldn't that be cool?
When I walked in the house later, Rob told me she had called.  He refused to tell me how much was raised but he made it clear I would never believe it.
That phone call was sweet beyond words.
The bucket - it didn't just have bills and change.  Down at the bottom, under the loose change was a white envelope.
Inside the envelope.
A box of discarded books and a droopy picture caused someone's heart to be stirred into action. 

They donated $500.00 to give this sweet, ornery boy hope and a future.

We sometimes think that what we have to offer is too little, too insignificant, too useless.  So we take our offerings and throw them away. Hide them. Leave them behind in our wallet or in the closet or on our shelves, believing that what we have to offer will never make any difference.

A box of useless books brought in over 500.00 because someone was faithful.  Despite the rain.  Despite the conflict. Despite the droopy picture. Despite it all. 

God used those books to stir hearts.

Hearts.  With an 's'. The $500.00 was amazing, yes, but so also were the nickels and dimes and dollars dropped in that bucket.  Those tiny offerings were just as precious as the big offering.

So many hearts were stirred for one little boy across the ocean because of one act.

One person faithfully taking their insignificant, seemingly useless gift and laying it on the altar.

And the Lord of Hosts saw the gift and smiled.

And Ruslan is now over the wall.

With 100 plus dollars to spare...

Just like the loaves and fishes left over after the crowds had been fed.

And we had demonstrated a powerful lesson.

Whatever you have... large or small.... take a risk... lay it at the altar.  Please don't throw your offering away. Maybe it only generates a tiny return. Maybe it brings in a hundred-fold.  Either way it is not insignificant. Big or small - it WILL be used by the Lord of Hosts. You may not get to see the results this side of heaven but it WILL be used.

So please - go find some THROW AWAY OFFERINGS in your closet or your wallet or your shelves and figure out a way to use them for His Glory.



1 comment:

  1. Tears on my keyboard. That "someone" who dropped in that $500 will be Blessed. So, so Happy for that precious little guy! Believing that another "special someone" will see his sweey, ornry self and know that he is their SON!
    Love, Jo


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