A sobbing little girl stood near a small church. It was so crowded she couldn't get inside. She saw her pastor nearby and cried, "I can't go to Sunday School!"
Seeing her shabby appearance, the pastor took her by the hand and found a place for her in her classroom. The little girl was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Two years later, the child died in a wretched tenement building. The parents called for the pastor who had so befriended her earlier. They found her worn, crumpled purse with 57 cents in it and this note: "This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School."
That 57 cents represented two years of saving and work, for this offering of love.
The next Sunday, the pastor tearfully carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his people to get busy and equal that child's dedication.
A newspaper got the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cent payment.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl's gift of 57 cents had increased to $250,000.00 a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century a hundred years ago!). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.
A beautiful church was built. Next time you're in Philadelphia, visit Temple Baptist Church, which seats 3,300, and also visit Temple University, where thousands of students are trained. Have a look, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of children, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside at Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl, Hattie Mae Wiett, whose 57 cents so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside her picture is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell.
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