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Campolo's Offering

Notes & Transcripts

Author Tony Campolo tells how he disembarked from a plane only to discover he was scheduled to speak to a group of women at a World Day of Prayer event he had forgotten about. He rushed over to the meeting—held at a large, wealthy church—and arrived exhausted, not knowing what to say to the women gathered for the conference. Before calling him to speak, the leader of the meeting produced a letter from a missionary in Venezuela. Campolo relates:

She read this letter from this missionary who had a hospital, and they needed $5,000 desperately to put an extension on the hospital because they couldn't handle all the patients. She turned to me, and she said, "Reverend, would you please lead us in prayer that the Lord would provide for our sister in Venezuela?" And I said, "No!" She was taken back by that. I stood up, and I said, "I'll tell you what I will do"—and it was a good day to pull it off because I was only carrying $2.25—I pulled out my wallet, and I pulled out the two dollars and a quarter, and I slapped it down on the pulpit and I said, "That 's all the money I'm carrying. Madame Chairman, I want you to put all the cash you're carrying on the pulpit." And there were about 1,000 women in this group. I said, "I'm going to ask each of you to do the same. No checks. Just the cash you're carrying. Bring it up. Lay it on the altar. We'll count up the money, and if we don't have enough, I will ask God to write out a check for the difference." The woman took out $110 of unadulterated cash and put it with my $2.25. A hundred and ten dollars in cash! Why didn't I marry somebody like that? I said, "We're on our way; we've got $112.25." I said, "You're next," and I pointed to a woman on the front row. She looked around. I said, "I'm serious. Come up here and put your money on the altar." You see, I come from a black church, and you know that's the way you take up an offering, you see. And she sheepishly came up and put her money on it, and I said, "Okay let's line up and do it one by one." And they did it! Money kept on piling up and piling up and piling up. When it was all over, we counted the cash. And we had over $7,000, instead of the five that was being required! And I know we didn't get it all because I could see women giving me dirty looks as they walked by.

You see, we fail to realize the powerful tool that is resting in our pocketbooks and in our wallets. It’s not there for us to play with. It isn’t a toy, it’s a tool.

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