If you’ve ever been discouraged because you received a poor offering from a church where you spoke, Pastor Wurmbrand offers a reason for giving thanks (from his own personal correspondence):
A poor pastor came once to a thrifty church in which nobody gave money. They did not have even offering baskets. So, after he preached, he passed around his hat, asking people to put there their gifts. The hat returned to him. He looked in it. It was empty. He overturned it so everybody should see that there is nothing in it. Then he said “Let us thank God for this offering. ” The audience believed he was mocking them, but this was not his intent. He said, “God, I thank you that in a congregation like this I got at least my hat back.”
But as with all Pastor Wurmbrand’s writings, the joke is never the end but always the setup for a deeper Kingdom punchline (or much-needed punch in the gut):
We owe our faith to God. It is His gift. But we are meant to put in it many virtues, as enumerated in II Peter l.2o [Editor’s note: Perhaps the intended reference is II Peter 2:5-7]. It is very sad for God. if, at the end of one’ s life , He gets only his hat back; a bit of faith without fruits. We hope that you will be fruitful in the Lord’s service.