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THE TREASURE OF THE CHURCH
St. Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D., but we remember him not for his martyrdom. We remember him as the Archdeacon of Rome. His responsibilities included maintaining the sacred vessels of the small, struggling church and distributing alms to the poor. While he was Archdeacon, the Governor of Rome took Pope Sextus captive and demanded, "Where is the treasure of the church?" The Pope would not tell, and they tortured him to death.
Next the Romans took Lawrence captive. "Where is the treasure of the Church?" they demanded, threatening with the same fate that befell the Pope. Lawrence replied, "Governor, I cannot get it for you instantaneously; but if you give me three days, I will give you the treasure." The governor agreed. Lawrence left.
Three days later he walked into the governor’s courtyard followed by a great flood of people. The Governor walked out onto his balcony and said, "Where is the treasure of your church?" Lawrence stepped forward, and pointed to the crowd that accompanied him – the lame, the blind, the deaf, the nobodies of society – and said, "Here are the treasures of the Christian church."
[“The Witness Principles,” Homiletics, Luke 24:36b-48, 4/17/1994]
- A barber in a small town was busy cutting hair one day when the local cop walked in to get a haircut. And the barber was feeling a bit generous that day, so he said to the cop... "Since you do such a good job protecting us, and watching over us... today’s haircut is free." The cop said he appreciated that, and the next day when the barber showed up at his shop, there were a dozen donuts waiting for him.
In walks a local florist. The barber tells him how much he appreciates all the work that he has done around town, planting bushes and flowers and making the town look real nice, so he gives him a free haircut. The next day, the barber shows up at his shop and there are a dozen flowers waiting for him.
In walks the local preacher, the barber tells him how he is feeling generous that day, and how much he appreciates all his hard work with the children and taking care of the needs of the people, so the preacher gets a free haircut.
The next the barber shows up at his shop, and there are a dozen preachers waiting there for him.
A man on vacation was strolling along outside his hotel in Acapulco, enjoying the sunny Mexican weather. Suddenly, he was attracted by the screams of a woman kneeling in front of a child. The man knew enough Spanish to determine that the boy had swallowed a coin. Seizing the child by the heels, the man held him up, gave him a few shakes, and an American quarter dropped to the sidewalk. “Oh, thank you sir!” cried the woman. “You seemed to know just how to get it out of him. Are you a doctor?” “No, ma’am,” replied the man. “I’m with the United States Internal Revenue Service.”
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls aro...
A group of well-intentioned people met to discuss ways and means of helping a friend who had been down on his luck recently. Knowing him to be an extremely proud person, who would not accept money, they decided to arrange a bogus raffle. They told him that they would all draw numbered slips of paper from a hat, and the person who drew the number four would win $200. They didn’t tell him that the number “four" was on every slip.
After the drawing, each of the conspirators glanced at their slips and crumbled them up in the manner of disappointed losers. Then they waited to hear their friend announce that he had drawn the winning number. But he didn’t say anything. Finally, one member of the group asked him, knowingly,
"What number did you draw?"
He said "Six and seven-eighths," holding up…the hat-size tag.
That is a fairly good example of a man who is really down on his luck.
An Online survey revealed that, while the average donation to beggars was less than 30 cents, the average daily donation to a panhandler is $56, ranging from a low $15 to $100 per day, or a surprising $30,000 a year untaxed for a few fortunate ones (www.pbs.org/weblab/needcom).
A couple of weeks ago I was listening as my Dad talked about what it is like to live on a fixed income, now that he is retired. "Fixed income," I said, "I’d love for my income to be fixed, lately I’ve been thinking it was broken."
Born over sixty years ago in Yugoslavia, she responded to God’s call on her life while still a teenager. A missionary’s strong challenge to give her life to teaching in India resulted in her appointment to the city of Calcutta.
Some months later she saw a sight which completely revolutionized her life, and would ultimately bring her world-wide fame as Good Housekeeping magazine’s "Most-Admired-Woman" selection. What was the sight? A homeless, dying woman lying in the gutter, being eaten by rats. Compassion compelled her to beg an abandoned Hindu temple from the government, and convert it into a crude make-shift hospital for the dying. A comment of her’s became her life’s thrust: "If there is a God in heaven, and a Christ we love, nobody should die alone."
This woman who established colonies for over 10,000 lepers in 28 cities was interviewed by Malcolm Muggeridge from the BBC News. "Mother Teresa, the thing I noticed about you and the hundreds of sisters who now form your team is that you all look so happ...
In the Congo, poor people who have nothing to give when the Church offering is taken will dip their hand in the offering plate to symbolize the giving of themselves. There’s also a story of a little crippled girl with a crutch who came to church and saw everyone place their offerings in the offering bag. She had no money on her but wanted to give to God so much, that she gave the usher her crutch!
Mother Teresa visited Australia. A new recruit to the Franciscan order in Australia was assigned to be her guide and “gofer” during her stay. “Thrilled and excited at the prospect of being so close to this woman, he dreamed of how much he would learn from her and what they would talk about. But during her visit, he became frustrated. Although he was constantly near her, the friar never had the opportunity to say one word to Mother Teresa. There were always other people for her to meet. Finally, her tour was over, and she was due to fly to New Guinea. In desperation, the friar spoke to Mother Teresa. “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea?” she asked. “Oh, yes,” he replied eagerly. “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.”