Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Crumby Illustration

Mrs. Baughman was a Sunday school teacher for my 6th grade class. One morning, she brought a pan of brownies to our class. As the goodies sat over by her chair, she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense - house payment, utility bill, phone bill, entertainment, etc. My slip had a car payment.
Before long, Mrs. Baughman picked up the tray of brownies and began naming the expenses written on the papers. As we gave her our expenses, she redeemed each one for a brownie. “Car payment!” she announced. I jumped up to get my brownie from the pan. Finally the last brownie had disappeared. But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip. “God!” called Mrs. Baughman. Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Baughman scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan into Donald’s napkin. He got a pretty raw deal, I thought - just crumbs.
“The brownies represent your money,” the teacher explained to us. “If you don’t give God His share right away, He probably won’t get anything except maybe the crumbs.”
We never forgot that illustration. It was the day my friend Donald got only brownie scrapings, and I learned that God should have first rights to everything I have. In the years since Mrs. Baughman’s class, I have struggled with giving and priorities. But whenever I recall the “crumby Sunday School lesson,” I know who must come first in my life.