The Rich Family in Church

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 5, 2001

I’ll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12,and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1. We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich. When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night. We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed–I didn’t even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way. Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.” Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.”

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn’t the missionary said so? From that day on I’ve never been poor again. I’ve always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

By Eddie Ogan
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108 comments
  1. Iamrcc said:

    What a fantastic story. It just goes to prove, giving brings the greatest joy, whether that is money, time or talent. Thank you for the visit and the like of my post “Sweetness Check”.

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  2. thanks for visiting my blog. Richness is measured in so many ways and the world’s idea of riches is way off….

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  3. Wow! Fantastic story. Thanks so much for sharing. I just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. You can pick it up on my blog. Keep the good work going.

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    • Thank you so much for the nomination!!!! It is truly an honor!!!!

      Thanks again and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

      Like

  4. What a wonderful story. I hope your life is as full of riches as those you have shared with others.

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  5. Anonymous said:

    First, they gave $50 of the $87 given to the poor family. Then they gave the $87 of the “little over a hundred” – wow. Good for them…bad for the families with money that couldn’t give.

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  6. Not intending to rain on the inspirational nature of the story or anything — it’s just that I first read this in the 1990s back when email forwards were the thing. Kenny, can’t you share the source instead of just acting like it’s new? A lot of casual readers automatically assume when there is no credit given that you generated this. You may not intend this, but that’s still how it works.

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    • Hey and thanks for your comment…..

      My intent is not to take credit for the stories. I think most of the followers of MS&D understand that fact. My intent, as it always has been, is to bring these wonderful inspiring stories to the reader where they do not feel they have to forward them on to twenty others to ward off bad luck.

      You can copy a short section of each of these stories and paste in any search engine and find multiple sources for each story.

      Again thank you for your comment!!! 🙂

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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    • “almost made me cry” is one of the best comments I can receive here at MS&D!!!!!

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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  7. Michele said:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, “Women Overboard.” Looking forward to reading yours.

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  8. what an awesome story! That was a family with a true heart of giving…reminds me of the widow with a mite. She was blessed of all people that day. May I share this story?

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    • Yes, You can share anything on the MS&D Blog!!!! It is an honor to be shared…. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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  9. Bob said:

    I am rich! A good story. As for the cartoon? I have a sore toe from rebooting.

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  10. I love it! A wonderful way to communicate the truth of our standing in the world that so many are not conscious of – besides communicating Biblical principles!

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    • Thanks for the comment!!!! I like your post on perfectionist. The garden peas look just fine in a pile!!!! LOL

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

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      • Hey Kenny,

        Glad you liked it!

        Thanks,

        Matt

        – so you don’t if someone messes with your peas?!

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  11. What a great story on humility! Thank you for sharing! And I would agree .. your family was most certainly the richest one! Jesus blessed you all with understanding giving even when you didn’t have anything to give! 🙂 Praise God!

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  12. A wonderful story, brought a tear to my eye.
    I have rebloged..

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  13. I’m glad to have found this classic story again. Thanks so much for sharing! Thayers – Go Light Your World

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  14. wiltedleaf said:

    A GREAT story. Reminds me of when I had mice in my home as I was struggling to pay for my own electricity bill. I thought to myself, Wow, this is what living homeless must be like. Nothing can make you feel more crummy about living in your home, than having rats/mice in it. It was seriously embarrassing when I had to keep going back to the same late night store, in order to buy out all of their wooden rat traps. I had trapped and discarded about 10 mice and their big 1 mother. In the end, I guess I was proud of myself for not chickening out, and getting rid of all of them. Thanks for sharing your own money-struggling story!

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  15. yjap45 said:

    This such a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it.

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  16. Your family lived out Acts 4:32-35. It seems to me that your family was the richest family in that congregation. You gave from the abundance of your hearts and we know that from the abundance of the heart is what the mouth speaks. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Joe M. said:

    What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing that with me (all of us). I have no doubt that I will be sharing this story with other people that I meet. God bless you, brother.

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  18. I just discovered your blog this morning and was reading through some posts. This one touched my heart deeply. You have a special blog here!

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  19. dbp49 said:

    You are very rapidly becoming my favorite Blog, a morning must. Thank-you very much.

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  20. I loved reading this, how wonderful. I have shared it on google as well. I pray it touches a lot of lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Praise God for you, your family, and this beautiful testimony of Jesus Christ IN YOU! You brought tears to my eyes… Thank you so very much for sharing this with us! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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