Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Gift That Multiplied

Temple Baptist, Philadelphia, PA
This story of a brave young girl came across my desk the other day and I thought it was worth sharing. So many times we do not think that our small amounts will ever make a difference but as we see here, Hattie May's 57 cents gift left her with a legacy.

A first-hand account of the story of Hattie May Wiatt is in a sermon delivered December 1, 1912 by Russell H. Conwell, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia.  Hattie May lived near the church where the Sunday School was very crowded. Rev. Conwell told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow everyone to attend who wanted to. 

Later, Hattie May Wiatt became sick and died.  Rev. Conwell was asked to do the funeral. The girl's mother told the reverend  Hattie May had been saving money to help build a bigger church and then gave him the little purse in which Hattie May had saved 57 cents. This was in 1886 when 57 cents was no small savings account for a little girl from a poor family.

Rev. Conwell turned the 57 cents into 57 pennies. Then he told the congregation the story of little Hattie May and sold the pennies for a return of about $250.  Later, 54 of the original 57 pennies were returned to Rev. Conwell. He later put them on display.  

Some of the members of the church formed what they called the Wiatt Mite Society which was dedicated to making Hattie May's 57 cents grow as much as possible and to buy the property for the Primary Department of the Sunday school. Eventually, a house nearby was purchased with the $250 that Hattie May's 57 cents had produced and the rest is history.  The first classes of Temple College, later Temple University, were held in that house.  It was later sold to allow Temple College to move and the growth of Temple, along with the founding of the Good Samaritan Hospital (Now the Temple University Hospital) have been powerful testimonies to Hattie May Wiatt's dream.....and what God can do with only 57cents.

God can do the miraculous with whatever you have to give. No gift is ever to small or too unimportant for God not to notice the effort made in giving it. This Christmas, give something special to God and see what wondrous things He can do.

Merry Christmas!

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