I can’t help myself. I know I shouldn’t, but every time the offering bucket is passed my way at church, I have to look in. I have to see what’s at the bottom of that bucket. I know God is probably up in heaven eating Apple Jacks thinking, “Come on dude, again? Quit looking in there. You’re like the Curious George of tithing. And speaking of that monkey, is the man in the yellow hat an allegory or a metaphor of me or something? I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
But there it is, my name is Jon and I look in the offering bucket. When I do, when that plastic bucket floats into my lap for a split second, I usually have one of the following thoughts:
1. “Wow, that thing is empty. This row is not representing.” (I then look up at the row I’m sitting in and shake my head with an air of disappointment.)
2. “I wish they gave us some sort of sticker we could wear that said ‘I mail my offering to the church instead of bringing it every Sunday.’ I mean I know some churches have shirts that say ‘I went to Saturday night church’ so that people don’t judge them on Sunday. And people get stickers when they vote or give blood.”
3. “Why at the register in Wal-Mart when I select ‘credit card’ on the little touchpad do they then ask for my pin number and I have to hit cancel or clear? Was that first question just a joke? Are they trying to trick me into using my debit card?” (My mind is wandering here but at least it’s kind of topical since it is a money issue.)
4. “What if I looked down and someone had put a snake in the bucket? Like a rattlesnake or some sort of pit viper? Can you punch a snake in the face? How fast are my hands?”
5. “Why do I keep winning fake lotteries and getting emails from people in Nigeria that want to transfer money into my account?”
6. “I want to be the Lil Wayne of Christian authors. Dang that guy is prolific. He’s on every one’s album. I hope I don’t have to get “Fear of God” tattooed on my eyelids like him.”
At this point the train is completely off the tracks and my wife is elbowing me to pass the bucket. I like to look inside. I’m curious like a cat. That’s why my friends call me “Whiskers.” But maybe that’s just me.
“How the muskrat pelts selling Mr. Johnson?” Mr. Wilson asked, as he stepped into the general store.
“I’ve seen better years. I’ve seen worse.” Mr. Johnson said, tipping his hat with a twinkle in eyes set deep in a wrinkled face.
“Well, I fear I’m about to see worse. One of our farm hands left for the city so we’re going to have a hard time bringing in the harvest this year.”
“Ha, well isn’t that just like fate? A young man came in just yesterday looking for work. A strong young man with hands that looked like they understand how to handle a farm.”
“Really, what’s his name? Where’s he from?”
“His name is Dalton McCoy. Where’s he from? Not sure. Never did get that information from him. Some men hold their pasts tight against their chest.”
“Well, send him my way. I just might be able to use him.”