Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you have $2?

I spoke with this evening with the man who was my pastor during my childhood and teen years. He served one of those wonderful 18 year appointments at my home church on Long Island, NY. His name is Clayton Miller, or Pastor Miller, but we all called him “PM.” He watched me grow up, and though he’s retired now, we still talk on the phone about once a week.

One of our favorite stories to tell happened when I was in High School in the early 70s. I wore my hair long in the front, so it hung down over one eye. I noticed one day, though, that the eye that was covered all the time was getting “lazy” and I told PM about it. He said “Why don’t you let me cut your hair?” I trusted him, so I got in the chair and he cut my hair. He gave me a great haircut, no hair in my eyes, and when I went to school I got all kinds of compliments.

The next time I saw him, I thanked him. “This haircut has been so great, I can’t thank you enough. If I had a two million dollars I would give you a million.”

Without missing a beat, PM said to me, “Do you have two dollars?”

“Yeah” I answered.

“Then I’ll take one.”

He went on to use that story many times as an example of how we are often ready to give what we don’t have, but more hesitant to share what we do have. Since I’ve gone into the ministry, I’ve used this as an example as well. We all need to be reminded that God doesn’t expect from us something we don’t have. God does expect that we will be faithful with what we do have.

You may be wondering if my pastor really took the dollar from me. He certainly did. It was well worth it for the lesson I learned.

--Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director, Communications Ministry, United Methodist Communications

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