FIRST GLIMPSE: i want to give it all
Eric Thomsen is the managing editor of ONE Magazine. Send comments and observations about ONE to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crash! Jingle! Clink, clink, clink.
My wife raises one eyebrow at the strange noises echoing down the hallway from our daughter’s bedroom. “I wonder what that crazy child is up to now?”
As the noise fades to silence with no further signs of distress, we shake our heads, smile ruefully at one another, and turn back to Sunday afternoon football. After six years of parenting, we know that if our daughter needs us, she will let us know—in no uncertain terms!
I shake my head in disgust as the Tennessee Titans are forced to punt…again. Standing, I amble toward the fridge for a soda when I glance up to see Victoria walking slowly into the living room. The comical sight stops me in my tracks. Under one arm she carries an enormous Winnie the Pooh™ bank. Behind drags her most recent prize—an outdated Liz Claiborne™ purse claimed from the stack of yard sale boxes in the basement. The small bag looks like a balloon ready to pop. Each step adds coins to a haphazard trail of pennies and nickels stretching from her room.
“Victoria, what on earth…?”
My voice trails off as my daughter looks up, determination etching her normally beaming face.
“Daddy, I want to give it all.”
“You know, to the kids they talked about in church this morning.”
“Which kids, honey?”
Her eyes turn reproachful. “The kids who will never hear about Jesus unless we send a missionary to tell them.”
Ohhhhh. Suddenly, everything makes sense as I remember the appeal made by the pastor on behalf of the World Missions Offering. I drop my eyes to the bulging purse, remembering the chores, the good grades, the “tooth fairy” money. As I realize she is about to give away months of carefully hoarded savings, I hear myself saying, “Victoria are you….?”
She interrupts impatiently, “Yes, Daddy, I’m SURE!”
For a moment, my rational, adult mind thinks, “This is a perfect opportunity to explain tithing, to tell her she doesn’t have to give all of her money away.”
But another Voice breaks into my thoughts. “Wait. Before long, she too will struggle to give everything to me. Let her give while her heart is soft, while her priorities are still intact. You can always teach her to give less. Right now, let her give it all. Her gift means everything to me.
Ashamed, I kneel and hug my little girl, telling her how proud I am. As I bury my face in her golden curls, I pray with her childish wisdom, “Lord, I too want to give it all.”