S. D. Gordon
"Not My Crutches"
This delightful story is found in Gordon's Quiet Talks with Workers and tells how a child surrendered her crutches, the most precious things she owned, for the sake of missions. This would be a good story to share with children.
There is a simple tale that I love, and have told many times. A minister in our Eastern country, in Pennsylvania, received a letter from his church board speaking of the great need of our Western country; where it is almost all mission field, asking for a special sermon and a special offering. Literature accompanied the request, which he read. He prepared a sermon with good heart. Sabbath morning came, and he rose to preach it. But somehow it did not seem to catch fire. That banker over there, who could easily give £10, looked at his watch two or three times politely under cover of his hand. And this merchant over here, who could easily give £10, yawned behind his hand, once or twice politely. The thing did not seem to catch fire. And at the end of the sermon the minister sat down with a heavy heart. The thing had not caught fire. It had not hooked in, and he sat praying that things might turn out better than he feared they would while the offering plates were passed.
And meanwhile a little scene was taking place in the very last pew, where a little cripple girl sat, a child of maybe nine or ten years. An accident had taken away a part of one of her limbs, and all her life was darkened. Then some friends in the church made up a small purse, and bought her a pair of crutches. And that changed everything, and she went hobbling about on her crutches just like a ray of sunshine, cheery and bright. Everybody liked her just because of her sunny ways. She was in the last pew alone. She listened, and she said: "I wish I could give something, but I can't. I haven't got even a copper."
And a very soft voice inside said: "There are your crutches! "Oh! her crutches! She could not give her crutches. "Yea," the strangely quiet voice said: "You can, and if you did they would learn about the Lord Jesus yonder. He has done so much for you. Somebody will learn about Him. It will mean so much when they hear it. Give your crutches! " "No, no! "she said passionately. "Yes, yes! "the quiet, soft voice said insistently. And she had her fight. How every true life has its fight and its battlefields, scarred and ploughed. By and by the victory came, and she said, "Yes." And she sat quietly, her eyes very glistening with something wet, and a smile just coming to the corners of her lips, that were yet twitching with the battle she had been through.
Just then the church officer came down the aisle with the plate. He looked in; only cripple Maggie; not worthwhile putting the plate in there! But with fine courtesy he passed in the plate, and in her childlike simplicity she took up her crutches and tried rather awkwardly to lay them on the plate. And he swallowed hard on something in his throat, and put out his hand and steadied the crutches on the plate, and commenced walking back the middle aisle of the church with the plate and the crutches. And everybody looked! They all knew Maggie and her crutches. Maggie giving her crutches. Then the banker blew his nose; it is surprising the emotions that you can hide behind the blowing of a nose! And the merchant reached for his pencil!
And the minister said: "Our little friend has given us a wonderful example of sacrifice." Somebody said: "I want those crutches. I will give £10 for them." And they were sent back to the last pew.
And then they passed the plate back by general request, and by and by, when it came back, there was £160 or thereabouts. And little Maggie hobbled out of church crippled in body, but in no other way. The £160 was simply the interest on the investment, and the capital went out with her, just where it had been before! She obeyed the voice. That was all. She had a passion for her Master, and the voice said, "Give," and she obeyed. That is the touchstone of service. And mark you this—that may not sound very much to you, a little child with a pair of crutches— but, mark you, please, if you listen softly this morning you will find an inner voice saying: "Your crutches, please!" That means the thing you think you can't do without. The Master says: "I want your crutches." And your heart passionately cries out, "Not this thing! Not my crutches." Only as we give our crutches, because of our passion for Him, can He carry out His plan through us in His world. Oh! Jesus, Master, help us to give our crutches, because Thou dost ask them!
By S. D Gordon, from Quiet Talks for Workers pp. 27-32.