We were headed to our first week of drive-thru church during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pastor preached online that Sunday morning, and during the afternoon the congregation was invited to drive through the parking lot to take communion from their cars and drop off any tithes and food pantry items.

The tithe checks were already written, scribbled out by habit when my husband and I pay the bills each week. I’d intended to pick up a few extra cans of vegetables and boxes of rice at the store, too, but since it was the early days of the coronavirus, the grocery shelves were mostly empty. We’d found just what we needed, but not more.

“Maybe I can just give money?” I asked my husband as we were about to leave. But as I reached for my wallet, a thought hung heavy over me. What if we need that money in the coming weeks? So far, our jobs were secure, but the unemployment rate was rising, and the daily news was filled with reports of layoffs, closures, and furloughs. Steve’s company had begun suspending some operations, and my own freelance work could dry up any time.

With my wallet in hand, I took a deep breath and grabbed a $20 bill. It wasn’t the only cash I had, but it was more than I would have spent had we picked up extra items like I’d planned.

“Is $20 okay?” I asked. Steve shrugged, leaving the decision up to me. Before I could change my mind, I tucked the cash and tithe check in my coat pocket, and we headed out.


Originally published at Redbud Post on May 1, 2020.