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It was 7:55 a.m. My students had begun to arrive in the classroom and hang up their jackets and backpacks. I sat at my desk, completing some last-minute paperwork before the start of the school day.

“Señora Breedlove?” a voice asked.

I looked up to see a student standing next to my desk, holding something hidden in his hands. “Yes, Michael?” I asked. (Note: Michael is not his real name.)

“I brought you something,” he said, unclasping his hands to reveal a folded-up dollar bill. I stood up to receive it. “I know you don’t get paid very much,” Michael said quietly, “so here.”

Wordlessly, I held out my hand, and he placed the dollar in it. “It’s not much,” he said, “but it’s something.”

Rarely am I at a loss for words. This was one of those times.

I teach at an inner-city school. My students aren’t rich. But Michael, probably because he’s heard adults in his life talk about how “teachers don’t get paid much,” wanted to do something about that. So he gave me what he had.

What do you think I said to him? Did I say, “Michael, this is only a dollar. This isn’t worth anything to me”?

Of course not. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. I don’t remember exactly what I said; I only remember that my words seemed inadequate. Michael may have thought “it’s not much,” but he was wrong.

It was priceless.

That’s what I want you to remember when you feel discouraged because what you have to offer God “isn’t much.” Your gift—no matter the monetary value or the way society perceives it—is worth far more than you may think it is.

It’s priceless, too.

A missionary who devotes her life to serving the people of a foreign land gives no more to God than does a stay-at-home mom who spends her days fixing meals toddlers will eat, driving the carpool, and folding laundry.

God places no more value on the service of a speaker who brings the Word of God to thousands of people than He does on the labor of a mom who works to earn a paycheck so that her children will have what they need.

That’s because what God wants from us has little to do with the particulars of our gift, but everything to do with the heart behind it. With whether we’re doing the best we can and giving Him everything we have.

At the end of the year, many students give their teacher gifts. It’s possible, therefore, that I may receive gifts that cost more than $1.

But I will never receive one that’s worth more.

Mark 12:44—“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (NIV)

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