Saturday, September 27, 2008


After WWII, mission areas around the world had a critical need for buildings and land. In response to that need, Nazarenes created the "Alabaster" offering, honoring the sacrifice of the woman who anointed Jesus' head with expensive perfume poured from an Alabaster jar (Matthew 26:6-13). Now many people collect money -- especially coins -- in small boxes throughout the year for that purpose. Since the first Alabaster offering in 1949, more than 7,300 projects have been funded by these gifts totaling over $79 million.

Those are big enough numbers that they become difficult to imagine. So, out of curiosity, I did a bit of internet research and a few quick calculations. Based on what I found, my napkin-back estimate is that the combined contents of all those little paperboard boxes would weigh more than the Statue of Liberty. At least seven times more, actually. And the Statue of Liberty is pretty big -- just her index finger is eight feet long.

Think about that for a minute. Imagine all the people who have given to Alabaster over the years, each just a little bit at a time, each bringing just a tiny portion of the whole. Imagine also the people who have been helped during the past sixty years through schools, churches, medical clinics, and other such facilities because a bunch of folks decided to join forces.

What none of us can do alone, all of us may be able to do together.

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