Richard B Gillion

WOMAN	Hello, welcome to heaven.  Could I have your name please?

JOHN	Yes, hello.  John Checkerís the name.

WOMAN	Checker ...  John ...  There are such a lot of names here, could you tell
	me what you were on earth?

JOHN	An accountant.

WOMAN	Ooh, an accountant!  We donít get many of those here.

JOHN	Why on earth ...  I mean, why in heaven not?

WOMAN	Well, theyíre not very spiritually minded, are they?

JOHN	Well I was a Methodist as well.

WOMAN	We donít get many of those here either.  ó Same reason.  Ah, here we are:
	John Checker.

JOHN	Oh good.  For a moment you had we worried there.

WOMAN	Nothing to worry about, John, youíre on the list.  But tell me: why is it
	that you Methodist treasurers have such funny ideas about money?

JOHN	Funny ideas about money?  Whatever do you mean?

WOMAN	Like the title of that Guidebook for Methodist Treasurers: "Itís more than
	saying no."

JOHN	Well, you canít be too careful with money, can you?

WOMAN	And whatís all that business with thermometers.  Thereís one put up outside
	the church whenever a slate falls off the roof.

JOHN	Very useful things thermometers.  Good visual communication and an

WOMAN	Yes, but did you have to have one so elaborate that you needed to launch a
	new thermometer fund before you could start on the roof fund?  And why do
	you make people eat so many cakes and drink so much coffee before you let
	them give you any money?

JOHN	Weíve always done it that way.  You canít expect people just to give money
	for the sake of the kingdom of God.  They have to have a real incentive,
	like buttered scones or something.  And you canít expect God to inspire his
	people to give enough, can you?  There arenít enough of them.  They have to
	get the rest of the world to help as well.  Do you know a better way?  I
	mean, thereís not much in the bible about fund-raising is there?

WOMAN	The bible calls it giving, not fund-raising, but itís there all right;
	thereís plenty of advice.

JOHN	Is there?  I can only remember the bit about God loving a cheerful giver.
	Personally Iíve preferred the miserable givers.  I always thought the
	cheerful ones must have kept too much for themselves.  Why else would they
	be cheerful?

WOMAN	Itís a bit late for you to be asking what the bible says.  Didnít you read

JOHN	Well, I skimmed through it, and dipped in here and there.

WOMAN	Listen!

READER1 You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet
	for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become

READER2	"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my
	house.  Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not
	throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you
	will not have room enough for it."

READER3	Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken
	together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the
	measure you use, it will be measured to you.

READER4	Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also
	saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  "I tell you the
	truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All
	these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her
	poverty put in all she had to live on."

READER5	On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of
	money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no
	collections will have to be made.

READER6	If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one
	has, not according to what he does not have.  Our desire is not that others
	might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be
	equality.  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so
	that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.  Then there will be
	equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much,
	and he who gathered little did not have too little."

READER7	Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever
	sows generously will also reap generously.  You should give what you have
	decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God
	loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
	so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will
	abound in every good work.

JOHN	I think it would be better if, instead of coming into heaven, I went back
	and told them about these readings.

WOMAN	No, John, you canít do that.  They donít need you to tell them.  They have
	the bible.  They have Godís Spirit.  And they have people who are bible
	teachers.  Youíll just have to trust God on that one.

JOHN	O.K.  Just one question:  What were you on earth?

WOMAN	You wonít have heard my name mentioned.  I was just a poor widow.

RTF version of this sketch