learn lessons in surprising ways and at surprising times. One of the most
significant lessons my Dad ever taught me (and he may not have been aware
that he even did it) was to be generous toward God. It happened like this:
was describing a time when he was in Paris. He had a long-established pattern
of taking whatever loose change and bills he had in his pocket and putting
it in the offering plate whenever a collection was taken up. It was a little
expression of “giving everything” – he gave everything in his pocket at
here he was in Paris. He went into church, and they took up a collection.
He reached into his pocket and to his horror discovered that he had a lot
of money there – he had just exchanged a bunch of dollars for French Francs
a short while before. But he stuck with his decision, and put it all in
the plate. It hurt at the time, but that was what he had decided to do,
and he knew God would honor it. As he recounted the story, I almost ached
with the agony of parting with that much money, but I also felt Dad’s determination
to be faithful to his decision to honor God.
weeks later, we were in church. It was the day after my birthday, and I
had been given five dollars by my grandfather – a lot of money to a little
boy in 1960. I was carrying it with me, because I just enjoyed having so
much money in my pocket.
there I was, and the collection plate came around. I felt that five dollars
in my pocket, and I remembered my Dad’s story about the large sum of money
he had put into the offering plate in Paris. I felt again the ache of his
parting with so much money, but in my little 10-year-old heart, I decided
to “be like my Dad” and put in everything I had too. On one hand it hurt
to part with the money, but the thrill of being like my Dad was strong
enough to overcome the agony.
you know, God honored that big gesture by a little guy trying to be like
his Dad. A seed was planted in me that enabled me to give myself to God
in more significant ways later in life. As I grew, and especially as I
grew in spiritual maturity, I came to know the difficulty of giving things
up, but also the tremendous rewards of a life lived for God. It’s a lesson
acted out and learned over and over again. But for me it began by giving
“everything I had” – just like my Dad.
2011 Ted Kennedy III