News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2007
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TOM WRIGHT

Vacation money not for the Lord

Regina didn’t understand that we had three checks in play Sunday when the ushers at Central United Methodist Church passed the collection plates.

She knew that prior to the morning service a friend handed me a check to pay for a week-old business transaction.

She also knew that I slipped the check into my coat pocket. She knew two other things: That our check for the collection plate was in that pocket and that the check the friend gave me was for an amount more than the one we planned to put in the plate. She didn’t want them confused at the moment the money was to transfer to the Lord.

What she didn’t know was that the friend gave me a second check that I was to put in the collection plate because the friend couldn’t stay for the church service.

Regina took her role seriously, instructing me to put the two checks in separate pockets.

The usher came by and I dropped in our check and a sealed plain envelope that she hadn’t seen. She froze. I tried to pry her hands off the plate while the usher waited and tried to keep from laughing.

In desperation, she reached for the sealed plain envelope just as I slapped her hand away.

“You idiot, you put both checks in. That’s my vacation money,” she said.

She spent 45 minutes not hearing the minister.

“Go get that check,” she demanded after church.

“Why, for heaven’s sake?” I asked.

“You gave away my vacation money!” she said.

I didn’t, of course, because the plain envelope contained the third check I assumed she knew about.

The incident reminded me of the small country-church preacher who wasn’t happy with the few pennies that came back in the collection plate.

He held the plate before the congregation and said, “Well, Lord, we at least thank you for the safe return of the plate.”

Tom Wright is executive editor.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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