“Momma, what is the basket for?” the little girl
her mother one Sunday morning. “It’s for the
children,” answered the mother. That
answer satisfied the little girl until some 60 years later the basket
was the story of the basket that had always been
in the collection plate at that congregation of the Lord’s
people? Every time
the little girl attended worship in the little country church building
in East Texas, the
basket was there. Then, one Sunday it was
gone. Her mother had passed on to eternity, as had her grandparents.
aunt remained who had the answer to “What is the basket
for?” Why was it there?
In no other assembly had she seen the basket—only in that
little East Texas
congregation where her parents and generations
before had worshipped.
The answer lay in the wisdom of a decision made by an
elder of that little congregation in the early 1900’s. In
those days, the
orphan train children came to live with members of that congregation.
days, the beginning of an orphans’ home was established. In
congregation, two sisters had a strong difference of opinion. One
held strongly that families should take orphans into their homes and
them. Both sisters had done just that.
second understanding of the Scripture, James
1:27 came about in the establishment of
children’s homes. Those establishing the homes asked for
congregations to provide the funds for those homes. One sister was so
and quickly adopted the idea of the children’s homes. One
firmly opposed the
idea. Soon division began within the little congregation. The dilemma
brought to the attention of the elders.
The elders listened to the concern of the members. To
the surprise of one of the elders, the division was rooted within his
family; the two sisters were his own two daughters. His dark eyes
focused as he
firmly stated, “I will deal with this.” He went
home after the meeting, then,
returned to the eldership with a solution, which was approved by the
very next, Sunday the little basket appeared in the
collection plate. The elder announced to the congregation there had
concern about money being taken from the treasury to give to the
of a children’s home. He further announced from this day
forward no money would
be taken from the treasury, but any and all money placed in the little
in the middle of the collection plate would be directed to the support
home for children.
that day forward, the little basket was full to
overflowing. More contribution was placed in the little basket than had
previously been allocated from the treasury. The monies placed outside
basket would continue to be placed in the general treasury. The
not suffer nor did those children in need. There was no more division;
eldership cared for its flock and returned peace to the membership.