A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had
been turned away because it "was too crowded." "I can't go to Sunday
School," she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby,
unkept appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by
the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday
The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of
the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement
buildings and the parents called for the kind hearted pastor, who had
befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her
poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was
found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside
was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which
read, "This is to help build the little church bigger so more
children can go to Sunday school."
For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the
pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do.
Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he
told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his
deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story
and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel
of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not
pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide.
Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00
a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her
unselfish love had paid large dividends.
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist
Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where
hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good
Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses
hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever
need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the
sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially
saved, made such remarkable history.
Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H.
Conwell, author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds" - a true story.
Goes to show WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH 57 cents.
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