Crutches On The Altar

 

One day a minister received a request from a missionary society to preach a missionary sermon to be followed by a collection for a certain foreign field. The minister put his whole soul into the effort, couraging the people to give cheerfully for the Lord's work.

After the sermon, the collection basket was passed as usual; but the minister watched the result with depressed feelings as only small amounts were dropped in. Evidently, his words had not reached the hearts of his listeners. He noticed how those who were well able to give kept looking at the time, eager to be out and about other things.

On the last bench, in the meantime, a battle was waging in the heart of a poorly clad girl. Through an accident, Margaret had been crippled. She could not take a step without assistance. One day a kind lady procured a pair of crutches for her, and since then her life had been much happier. This same week she had ventured for the first time to church. What a great blessing it was to be able to listen to the Gospel once more.

As the usher came near with the basket, Margaret said to herself with a sad heart, "I have nothing to give - not a cent - and there in the foreign land the missionaries are expecting our gifts; they need so much to carry on their work. Oh, what can I do?" These thoughts went through her mind and made her shudder.

"My new crutches could be sold for a sum of money, but I cannot spare them; I must have them; they are my very life."

"Yes, your life", said a voice within; "but did not Christ give His life for you? If you give what is your life, some poor souls in Africa will hear that He is their Savior too. Oh, if you only would!"

Finally a glow came over her face. She pressed, a kiss on the crutches and waited, her heart pounding.

The collection basket came to where Margaret sat. The usher knew her well. He gave a friendly nod and was about to pass on. To his astonishment, she made an effort to lay the crutches on the basket.

The man grasped the situation, took the crutches out of her hand, put them on the basket and carried them slowly through the aisle, laying them without a word on the altar.

Everyone watched him in breathless suspense. They all knew the young girl, and many eyes filled with tears. The minister, deeply affected, laid his hand on the crutches and repeated solemnly the words of Jesus: "She hath done what she could".

What a stir this incident made in the meeting! Suddenly, perspiration came upon the banker's brow and he wiped his face with his handkerchief and pulled out his wallet. The rich lady fumbled about for her purse. A local merchant whispered something in the ear of the usher, who passed the collection basket once more from bench to bench. This time money came pouring forth like raindrops.

Afterwards, the people solemnly left the church. One lady stepped up to Margaret and gave back her new crutches. She had redeemed them for the benefit of the missionaries for the sum of one hundred dollars. The happy girl returned home, little realizing how much she had done that day for her Master.

# # # # #