THE TRUE STORY OF 57 CENTS
BY PASTOR JOHN ALLARD, OSKALOOSA
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,
unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. 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 of dollars. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000-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 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 cur* 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 pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell-a true story.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not ” (Gal 6:9)
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE IOWA DISTRICT GLEANER, SPRING
2001, PAGE EIGHT. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR
STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.