“Baskets”

Have any of you ever seen the baskets with a long wooden handle that used to be used to take up the collection during a church service? It is handy to reach the middle of the pew and also makes less of a clang if coins are given. I suppose they are still used in a few congregations but like many other things are being retired and replaced with “electronic” giving. I prefer the plates because it gives more brethren a chance to serve in the worship. I wonder if the container into which the poor widow dropped her two coins was some sort of basket? At any rate, a basket can be used to receive a gift to God.

Of course it has many other uses. It can lift people up to better view nature—when attached to a hot-air balloon. It can catch a hard rubber ball thrown at over 100 mph—during a jai-alai game. It can store about any type of small items—like eggs or sewing supplies. It can even save lives. A papyrus basket coated with tar and pitch allowed Moses to escape Pharaoh’s evil edict to kill all the Israelite baby boys in the Nile river (Ex 2:3). The Christians in Damascus lowered the Apostle Paul in a basket through an opening in the city wall in order to prevent the Jews there from killing him (Acts 9:23-25) (2 Cor 11:32-33). Twelve baskets played a part in one of Jesus’ miracles. They were used to collect the leftovers after He fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish (Mt 14:20) (Mk 6:42).

As Christians we can metaphorically be baskets for Jesus today. We can lift the load and the spirits of the poor and hurting (Lk 11:46) (Gal 6:2). We can bring food and other needed items to victims of natural disasters (Mt 25:35, 40). The most important thing we can ever do is to bring a basket of spiritual truths to people who haven’t heard the gospel, spread it out before them and let them feast (Mt 28:19-20).

—Jim Bailey