A Pocketful of Grace

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti looked around the kitchen. Where could G.M. have left the cordless phone this time? Ah, there it was! On the table in the fruit bowl, cuddled next to the bananas.

Joseph quickly dialed Mac’s number. “Pastor Chuck just called and asked if we could come over to his house,” he said excitedly as soon as Mac answered. “He said he has a special project he wants us to help him with. G.M. said she would drive us over.”

“Just a minute,” Mac replied. “I’ll ask my mom.” The phone made a clattering sound in Joseph’s ear when she dropped it.

Joseph pulled his jacket off the peg by the door and slipped into it while he waited for Mac. He went to the sink and poured himself a glass of water.

“I can go!” Mac said when she finally came back on the line. “I’ll meet you outside.”

Soon Mac was bouncing on the seat of the truck. “What else did he say?” Mac asked curiously. “What does he want us to help him with? Don’t you just love Pastor Chuck? He has the greatest ideas!”

“I don’t know why he wants us,” Joseph answered. “He didn’t tell me anything else.”

Just as G.M. drove up in front of Pastor Chuck’s apartment, Mrs. Monroe pulled up too in her dark green minivan. Trevor and Hannah piled out.

Trevor took one look at Joseph and yelled, “I’ll beat you to the door!”

All four kids raced for the steps. All four kids tumbled into Pastor Chuck’s apartment as he opened the door.

“Whoa!” he exclaimed. “You guys are a herd of wild horses!”

Mrs. Pastor Chuck laughed at their happy, excited faces.

“What are we suppose to do?” Mac asked breathlessly. “We’re here!”

“I can see that!” Pastor Chuck said with a twinkle in his eyes. “Here’s the plan,” he explained. “We are going to have a treasure hunt. There are nickels hidden in the living room, and the dining room, and the kitchen. They are all in plain sight. Mostly. You don’t have to open drawers or anything like that.” Pastor Chuck paused because no one was looking at him any more. Four sets of eyes were already searching the living room.

Pastor Chuck threw up his hands. “OK. Get started!” he exclaimed.

“I found one!” Trevor hollered. He dived to his knees and pulled a nickel out from under one of the piano pedals.

“There’s one!” Mac exclaimed. She picked up a nickel from behind the vase of flowers on the dining room table.

The next few minutes were a flurry of activity. There were nickels everywhere! Hannah bumped into Joseph as they both spied a nickel peeking out from between two books in the bookcase. Mac squealed when she saw one in the kitchen sink.

“How many nickels did you hide anyway?” Joseph asked, stuffing another one into his pocket.

“Eighty,” Pastor Chuck answered with a grin.

Finally Pastor Chuck called an end to the hunt. “Count how many you’ve found,” he directed.

Trevor, and Mac, and Joseph plopped on the floor to count their coins. Hannah put hers on a place mat on the dining room table to count them.

“I have 18,” Trevor announced.

“I have 21,” Mac exclaimed.

“I only found 14,” Joseph declared with disgust.

“I found 23,” Hannah said with quiet pride.

“Good job!” Pastor Chuck closed his eyes to do the math.

“You found 76,” he figured. “That’s all but four of them. Now divide the nickels up evenly, and you can keep them.”

“Really?” Trevor asked in amazement. “You’re going to let us keep them?”

“We have to divide them evenly?” Hannah asked. She tried not to sound disappointed.

“I get it!” Mac whooped. “I get it! It’s just like our Sabbath School lesson this week. David divided everything he won in that battle with all his soldiers—even though some of them were too tired to fight. He did it because God really won the battle for them, so everybody was really an equal winner.”

“I was thinking about having a treasure hunt like this at Sabbath School,” Pastor Chuck said. “Do you think the kids would enjoy it?”

“Yeah!” Trevor exclaimed. “They’d love it!”

Mac looked at Pastor Chuck with a worried frown. “Can you afford to give away all this money?” she asked.

“Do you want us to give it back to you so you can use it again on Sabbath?”

“Thank you for your consideration,” Pastor Chuck said. “That was truly thoughtful. But I want you to keep it.

“The nickels really represent God’s grace, you know. So I couldn’t possibly take them back. I just wish they could be silver dollars!”

Mac grinned. She put her share of the nickels in the pocket of her overalls. She patted the heavy bump they made there. “A pocketful of grace!” she said.


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