Hattie May Wiatt was a six-year-old girl who lived near Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia, USA.
The Sunday school was very crowded and Russell Conwell, the minister, told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow everyone to attend. She said, ‘I hope you will. It is so crowded that I’m afraid to go there alone.’ He replied, ‘When we get the money we will construct one large enough to get all the children in.’
Two years later, in 1886, Hattie May died. After the funeral, Hattie’s mother gave the minister a little bag they had found under their daughter’s pillow containing 57 cents in change that she had saved up. Alongside it was a note in her handwriting: ‘To help build the Sunday school bigger so that more children can go’.
The minister changed all the money into pennies and offered each one for sale. He received $250 – and 54 of the cents were given back. The $250 was itself changed into pennies and kept on multiplying.
26 years later, in a talk entitled, ‘The history of the 57 cents’, the minister explained the results of her 57 cent donation: a church with a membership of over 5,600 people, a hospital where tens of thousands of people had been treated, 80,000 young people going through university, 2,000 people going out to preach the gospel – all this happened because a little girl invested her 57 cents.
If one small child can make such a huge contribution to help the lives of others then surely you and I can too.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.