Nate | The Morganton Years

If Jesus and Nate had a feeding-of-the-crowds competition, Nate  might have won. Nate was in the youth group that I attempted to lead. The particular evening of the feeding of the youth group was planned with a great deal of parental support. The Fellowship Hall was set up with three sets of tables. There was a table for two, which represented the richest people in the world. There was a table for five that represented those in the world who have a modest amount of income. And the last table, set for twenty plus, was representing those who live in poverty.

The plan was to have a smorgasbord meal. Each food item would have a price on it, indicating the amount of pre-printed play money to be paid for it. The table for two would be given plenty of money with which to purchase a smorgasbord of food and then be able to come back for seconds and even thirds. The middle group would have enough to buy some food, but they would have to make decisions about how much of what to place on their plates. The last group would only be able to afford rice or beans and would have to share to get some of both on their plates. It was going to be a dramatic scene in which the multitudes of the hungry would look at the rich as they drank their sodas and stuffed their faces.

When the evening for the event came, I asked the group how they decided where they were born. “We don’t have a choice; it just happens.” So, it happened that the leadership randomly divided the group into nations. The richest two got a wad of play-money cash and went through the line, filling their plates up high. The middle table got a few bills and grouped together to come up with a plan. When the multitudes of the poor came up, they started to fill their plates up! “What? No! You don’t have enough money!” “Yes, we do!” What? And they did!

It turned out that Nate had somehow been given a heads-up. During Sunday School earlier that day, he had found the fake money and had made photocopies of it, lots of photocopies of it. That’s why the money was literally flying in the Fellowship Hall like confetti at the Super Bowl. I was stunned! All the work by the parents to set up the hall and prepare the food was all for naught. Ugh! One of the parents saw my frustration, pulled me aside and said, “Look at them! They’re all laughing, stuffing their faces, and having a great time! Isn’t this the Gospel? Isn’t this the way the world is supposed to be?”

So it was that Nate gave the “Sermon in the Fellowship Hall” and “Blessed are you who are empty, for you shall be full.” Word!