Harrington Times: Can you explain why attendees of Emaus Road Community Church left the service with envelopes?
Melissa Harrington: The envelopes were given to couples, families and singles as a point of application to the days lesson. Member of the teaching team, Brad Eakins, walked the congregation through James 1:27 - 2:12 which begins "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Each envelope held either $5, $10, $20, or $50 for the members of the congregation to use as a blessing within our immediate to world community. It was a day when, instead of being expected to give your money to the church, the church gave you money and expected you to bless others.
HT: What amount was in your envelope?
HT: How did you react to this giving of envelopes and what you found in yours?
MH: About the envelope, I was thrilled and impressed. I think Jesus would be much more impressed to watch the Body of Christ give money away during worship services as opposed to collect it for bigger buildings. As far as our $5 bill...well...to be honest, I was a little bummed out! Mike and I practice similar giving habits, always willing to give to someone who may be in need. We've handed stranded travellers $50 or train-hoppers a $20, so a $5 bill seemed, well a bit disappointing, for me anyway, this in no way reflects Mike's perspective. Now, let me clarify, Brad suggested that we team together, pool our resources etc. I also knew, that Mike and I would be willing to "supplement" our $5. Anyhow, we chatted with our neighbors, one of whom made the reccommendation to buy five $1 reusable bags, fill them with food then donate them to the Soup Kitchen. That got me to think that maybe there was something worthwhile to use our $5 for.
HT: What will you do with your $5?
MH: We have not come to a final decision, but I have put some extensive thought into some possibilities. We have a couple friends who are need of some funds for some worlds missions - we plan to offer them a larger offering for support, but also to tack on $5 encouraging them to use that money to bless someone or many people in parts of the world where $5 can really stretch in significant ways. I also suggested to Mike, that perhaps we'll take a $5 challenge. Each of us being equipped with some multiple of $5 such as $25 or $50. With that money we would each seek to bless people $5 at a time. Some thoughts I've had include: Paying for the coffee of a customer behind me in a line, Leaving a $5 bonus tip or tip for something small like a cup of coffee or donut, or placing my $5 in a donation can trusting that it will serve it's purpose without my face attached.
HT: Do you have any comments or thoughts you'd like to leave our readers?
MH: Initially, I really thought it would be best to combine our money or supplement the $5 with other monies we had set aside for similar purposes. However, after spending some time reflecting on the purpose of the envelopes and of our God, I realized that it was ridiculous to assume that God can't work in $5! Who am I to think that only large sums of money make a difference? What better way to see the power of God and significance of "small" offerings in the lives of people? I found myself facing the issue of pride - believing that we already had a beautiful habit of this in our lives, yet we've overlooked the power of blessings in smaller packagaes. What I really want of readers however, is their action. I would love for friends and family to join us in answering the question "What would you do if you had $5?" I hope to see posts and comments that reflect great ideas that readers may have and eventually ways they have chose to spend their $5 for the good of others.