Escape From Selmont Baptist

“At this point what does it really matter?”

Most of us have something in our past we’d rather keep secret.  I say most of us because there are exceptions to the rule.

My mother said there were certain things she’d take to the grave.  It wasn’t until after mom died that my wife and I discovered one of them.  Her real name was Perry Tallulah Haynes.  She dropped Perry like a hot potato. If not for an old birth announcement we would’ve never known.  I suppose when I get to ‘the other side’, I’ll be in trouble for spilling the beans!

I’ve kept something under wraps of my own.  When my kids were young I didn’t want them hearing the story.  Perhaps it would have triggered a similar event in their lives.  As Hillary Clinton would say,

“At this point what does it really matter?”

I suppose Hillary would be right in this case.

When I lived in Selma, Alabama our family attended Selmont Baptist Church.  This house of worship was fairly close to Craig Air Force Base where dad was stationed.  The year was 1959.

In Sunday school it was customary on your birthday to bring a penny for each year of age.  I’d just turned five.  Mom gave me a bright shiny nickel to use as a birthday tithe.  A nickel would buy a kid lots back then.

Sitting in class the nickel was burning a hole in my pocket.  It was also speaking to me in a most convincing manner,

“Hey Michael, you need a candy bar!”

The plan to voluntarily give up my money got harder and harder with each passing second.  After 2 minutes I couldn’t stand the thought.  Faking a trip to the restroom, I kept on walking.

Calculating that R&R Grocery on Highway 80 was a short distance away, I set off in pursuit of the noted candy oasis. Trouble is I headed the wrong direction.  Getting lost is something I’m skilled at.  I can’t tell you exactly how long I walked, but it must’ve been an hour or more.

When an older couple from our congregation rolled up in a cloud of dust I knew I was in trouble.  They told me countless people were beating the bushes fearing the worst. My rescuers drove me back to Selmont.

Outside, standing in the parking lot, pastor and other members were praying for my safety.  For several short minutes I was hugged and congratulated as being a hero; at least that’s how I viewed it.  Things quickly deteriorated on the way home.

I received a tongue lashing next to none and then the proverbial spanking.  It must not have been terribly harsh because I survived.  Undoubtedly to this day, ministers all over creation use my escape from Selmont Baptist to demonstrate what robbing God of tithes will achieve.

Yes, I learned a valuable lesson that day. It seems each time I hear a sermon on tithing, that blotched attempt at escape comes to mind.

One thing still has me scratching my head.  It’s hard to fathom candy bars only costing a nickel back then!

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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