By Kathryne Oates, Director of Development
The first month of my job as Development Director at Isaac Newton back in 2006, I received a $25 check from a man named Dick. My co-worker explained to me who Dick was and that from time to time we’d receive a check from him. Dick and his wife never had children, but had poured their volunteer hours into the Academy in their retirement years. He was now a widower. I wrote him a cheerful thank you note.
The next month he sent another $25 check and a note indicating that he was delighted to get my letter. He shared his concern over the spiritual state of our country, especially in education. I wrote him back, agreeing with the importance of Christian education.
For the next several years we became pen pals of sorts, and it always made my day when I would see a little envelope with his handwriting on it…a bit shaky, but the message was always deliberate. I shared funny stories about the kids, as well as serious ones. I remember sharing what a blessing it was to have an office close to the little gym where the children would gather on Fridays for Chapel, and what a heavenly sound they made while they sang their praises to God. He loved picturing that, he wrote.
Over time, his checks and letters became less frequent; it was clear that Dick’s health was declining and that he wasn’t leaving his retirement home anymore. And then one day a letter from him arrived and he explained that he was old and in poor health, could no longer afford to give to the school, and wasn’t really seeing God’s purpose for him in this world any longer.
“Oh, no”, I wrote back to him…”you have a huge purpose! We need prayer warriors! These children and their parents need prayer now more than ever!” I gave him some prayer requests, including a story about one young fellow at the school who was giving everyone the dickens of a time! This guy was always the class clown, disobedient toward authority, and a constant distraction. But there was also something endearing about him.
A few weeks later, I received a note back from Dick, scrawled out on some old, yellowed paper. “Well, I think I’d just take the lad out back behind the tool shed and give him a whoopin’!” he quipped. He was praying for our challenging student and he said to send him more prayer requests as well as an update on our “wayward fellow.” His purpose now breathed through those written lines! I continued to send prayer requests.
Dick passed away several years ago. I wonder if he knows what an important lesson he taught me about giving…that there is beauty in the $25 check. And when you take a $25 check and add fervent prayer to it, what an even more purposeful gift it becomes.
At Isaac Newton, we are grateful for the gift of coins presented to the school from the sweaty palm of a child. We are grateful for the checks with lots of zero’s, that allow us to build and expand. And we are grateful for all the in between gifts that arrive from so many who are committed to what is going on at the school every day. When all of those gifts come gift-wrapped in faithful prayer, the Lord has a way of multiplying them, and giving us exactly what we need.
If you haven’t been reminded recently of the story about “the widow’s mite” from Mark 12:41-44, check it out below.
The Widow’s Offering