At the front of the church was the pulpit and in front of the pulpit stood a table. On the table sat a small bank in the shape of a globe. It was about six inches tall. Visitors...if there were any...probably wondered what purpose it served until the person opening the service asked if there were any birthdays this week. That might give a visitor cause for pause and could actually make them look around in confusion, wondering, "Why does he want to know if there were any birthdays this week?"
If your birthday was within a few days of that Sunday, at the leader's invitation you would get up and walk to the globe bank and drop in some coins. How many coins you dropped in was up to you, although you must remember that this was the 1960s in rural Georgia, so there probably weren't that many coins dropped in on any given birthday. But it was a really nice way to celebrate your day and also a great way to help others because, you see, that money was given to missions. I didn't really know what "missions" meant but I knew it sounded nice and the church approved of it, so I was accepting. If it was okay with my parents, then it was okay with me. They were my plumb line.
My church was so small that many Sundays there was not anyone with a birthday soon, so no coins were dropped in. I don't know how often the money was emptied out and turned in, but my guess is that in a year's time there probably wasn't more than $15 collected altogether, maybe not even that much.
I heard a song on the radio today that went something like this:
I wanna go back to "Jesus loves me, this I know because the Bible tells me so."
I wanna go back to "This little light, gonna let it shine."
I like that idea, too. I'd like to go back to dropping coins in a globe-shaped bank that sits on a plain little table in front of the pulpit. Of course, these days we'd have to get a pulpit. Then we'd have to get a plain little table to put in front of it. And I bet there's a globe-shaped bank out there somewhere. I'd love to walk down the aisle and drop my coins in. I'm prepared to drop more coins in these days, and after all I've heard from people in my church who have gone on long-term and short-term mission trips, it would be an honor to give on my birthday. Maybe we could find a globe-shaped bank that has a hole in it big enough to drop in folded-up bills as well as coins. I would love that.
Here's the song by David Dunn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0VirZWCtJQ