Edgar is such a great man. He has/had (?) a cleft palate so most people find him very difficult to understand and do a lot of nodding when is talking. But if they would slow down and listen they would find him a delightfully intelligent, entertaining man who tells wonderful stories. Edgar always has mechanic's hands and the grease that goes along with constant work on old vehicles that are always needing work or (most of the time) not running at all. About the time he gets one running it is usually stolen and he smiles and finds another vehicle and starts over. We've started letting him park in the church lot to try to protect his current project.
Edgar is now part of our church family and we have hired him to help sweep up and empty the trash each Sunday morning before the service. We have three congregations that meet in the church building on Saturday so things get a little messy. When he started doing the job he switched from his everyday clothes (again...covered with that automobile grime) and added a white (ish) shirt.
This past Sunday, Edgar went to the front of the church...I believe for the very first time, and took out his pouch and put everything he had in the offering plate. I wanted to scoop it all up and put it back in his pocket but I knew we couldn't do that. I cannot begin to express how deeply moved I am. I feel like how I think Jesus must have felt in Mark 12:41...humbled, moved and challenged.
Our church is in a financial crisis right now...people who were faithful tithers are gone and the new people coming are part of the urban poor with very limited resources. We've depleted any savings and are facing a very challenging situation. But we know God is faithful! Paul brought a message Sunday that was full of hope and a call to sacrifice.
Paul specifically shared that he was not asking the poorest of the poor to give everything that they have when he shared the story about Jesus' observation of the rich giving out of their surplus and the poor widow giving all she had. That was not the point he was making. His point was about surplus and sacrifice. At the end of the message he opened the altars and placed the offering plates on them. We all came to the front and lifted our voices to the Father asking for his provision.
God is faithful...and we are so blessed to call people like Edgar our brother and our friend.
edited to add: I should have said, some faithful tithers are gone...we still have great people at the church who give generously!