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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: Three Little Buttons
By Jacquelyn Horne


One Sunday in spring, the deacon looked into the offering plate while counting the morning offering. There they were again! Two weeks in a row, three small buttons had nested among the coins and bills in the offering plate. This was becoming a pattern. “Who would put buttons in the offering?” he wondered. “Since it happens only on Sunday morning, it could be anyone,” he surmised. Church buses brought kids and adults alike from all over the city on Sunday morning.

The buttons appeared each week for several weeks, and the deacon decided it was time to say something to Pastor Craig. Confused, the pastor had nothing to offer. Dismissing it as a practical joke, he suggested that the deacon do the same.

But the buttons kept coming.

Then one cold Sunday morning the deacon was surprised to see that no buttons appeared with the offering that day. He’d become accustomed to seeing them and, somehow, missed them being there. He had a strange feeling that there was a portentous rationale for the buttons not being there.

The following week, the buttons were absent again. A feeling of loss dominated the deacon’s thoughts. To him, three little buttons had become a necessary part of the offering. Strange!

Again, the deacon voiced his concern to the pastor. Pastor Craig still had no clue. But, now his curiosity was piqued!

As winter matured, the church was astir with the activities that prelude a holiday season. Everyone bustled with plans for plays and parties that were scheduled for Sunday School classes, youth groups, senior members and married couples. In all the chaos, the deacon soon forgot the buttons. But, surprisingly, Pastor Craig became intrigued with the mysterious three little buttons.

During all the festivities, Pastor Craig was called to a home in the poorest section of town. As he drove through the streets, he was embarrassed that he had never been in this part of town although it was close to the church. He excused himself with the fact that he’d been very busy. As the pastor of a large church in the center of the city, there was a lot to do. A strong self-esteem was bordering on false pride, but he shrugged it off as he neared his destination.

He felt a chill as he entered the ramshackle house. The family was huddled around the old wood stove trying to keep warm. All eyes turned on him as he entered the room. The sadness on each face belied the cheery greetings they voiced. One man nodded toward the door under the stairway, and Pastor Craig turned to enter the room without speaking.

It was cold inside the small room where the little girl laid, despite the fire crackling in the fireplace. No curtains graced the lone window, and he could see that snow from the night before had blown through the cracks in the boards onto the sill--and it wasn’t melting.

The little girl’s face lit up at the sight of her pastor. She felt closer to God as he entered the room. She knew she would soon be going to be with Jesus. The doctors had told her. But, while she was waiting, it was good to see the familiar face of Pastor Craig. She felt so special having him there.

He stayed for a while and prayed with her. Then, at the doctors bidding, he turned to go. Holding her hand in goodbye, he felt her press something into his palm. He grasped it as he left the room, not looking to see what it was.

In the car, tears streamed down his face as his eyes fell on the three little buttons that lay in his palm. He knew this was a final offering and that no more buttons would appear in the Sunday morning offering plate. His tears turned into sobs as he realized the impact of such a gesture. His fingers tightened around the three little buttons that, to him, meant more than the “widow’s mite”.


The little girl hugged the empty tin that once held the buttons her mama had given her before she went to be with Jesus. “Mama’s going to be so proud of me for giving my most precious gift to Jesus,” she thought. Then she smiled as her little hand went limp and slid off the precious tin that once held what most of us would consider to be just ordinary buttons.

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This article has been read 1340 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn04/12/07
Wow - This was a real tear jerker. What a beautiful story, and such interesting characters.
Tabiatha Tallent04/12/07
What a beautiful entry.
Debbie Roome 04/12/07
I loved this. So simple and yet profound. Flowed well.
Edy T Johnson 04/12/07
Just little buttons, but you turned them into this sweet mystery that brought tears to my eyes. Maybe this could become another Christmas classic reminiscent of Tiny Tim or the Little Match Girl stories.
Great story and an offering of love that would touch the very heart of God. So often we give to God but how often do we give to God something that is precious to us?
Lynda Schultz 04/13/07
Tears come to my eyes — how beautiful.
Kate Grey04/14/07
Beautiful and touching. Thank you.
Patricia Williams04/14/07
This is such a touching, wonderful story. Children touch the heart of God and are often used by Him to teach us many important lessons, wonderful piece. This needs to be more than just a challenge piece. God bless. Patty
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/14/07
You did an excellent job of wrapping tenderness and love and pathos into mystery.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/14/07
At last the Mystery of the "3 Little Buttons" was solved; along with a waterfall of tears streaming down the faces of those that read this lovely story. So precious, so touching, and makes me wonder what went on behind the scenes of the widow's mite, the woman who gave all she had. Probably another mystery story that would take a box of kleenex to read...as this one did. This author deserves many Kudos for this one!
Rita Garcia04/15/07
Okay, now I need a tissue. Wonderful, brilliant, fantastic! Loved it from beginning to end!
Betty Castleberry04/15/07
What a sweet and well- written story. Such a precious message, too. Very well done.
Joanne Sher 04/16/07
Just beautiful. Tender and sweet, and such wonderful detail. Just lovely.
Birdie Courtright04/17/07
Oh, this was beautiful! I'm sobbing right along with Pastor Craig.
Sara Harricharan 04/17/07
What a darling little girl! I love this 'mystery' it is fitting and truly heartfelt. Beautiful writing! ^_^
Cheri Hardaway 04/17/07
Such a tender and beautiful story. Reminds me a bit of "The Christmas Shoes." It brought tears to my eyes. I was thinking of my son who was saved recently, at 19 years old. For years, I tried to make it happen, tried to tell God how to work it out. It was only when we sent him to Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug recovery program, and I completely removed my instructions and my hands, laying him on God's altar, that God was able to do what my heart had been aching for all those years. He got baptized and surrendered his whole life to the Lord, only after my husband and I were able to truly give that precious child back to the God who'd created him, leaving him entirely in His hands. Thanks for your story. Great job! Blessings, Cheri
Julie Arduini04/17/07
Oh my goodness, I have a lump in my throat and tears rolling. This was absolutely fantastic. Excellent!
Leigh MacKelvey04/18/07
Beautifully and tenderly written!
Sandra Petersen 04/18/07
This was so sweet! Can't think of anything to say except thank you so much for sharing! Beautiful story!
Loren T. Lowery04/18/07
This was a tender mystery written with a wonderful message. Truly enjoyed the story.
Joanney Uthe04/18/07
Wow! What a touching story. How often we, like the pastor, don't see what is right in our neighborhood just because it isn't pretty. There seemed to be a POV shift when the girl knew she would be seeing Jesus, and then shifting back. Overall, a great story with great description.
Sara Harricharan 04/19/07
Congrats! (I knew this was good!) ^_^
Helen Paynter04/19/07
Beautiful. A well-deserved win. COngratulations
Sharlyn Guthrie04/19/07
Congratulations, Jacquelyn! This is some terrific writing!
Mo 04/19/07
Elizabeth Baize04/22/07
Congratulations Jacquelyn! This story really touched me, and has such a beautiful message.
Barbara Hartsook04/23/07
Jacqueline, your story is so well-told. I figured something like its ending; still, the precious faith of the little girl, simple and pure, grabbed my heart and squeezed.

Thank you for reminding me to simply say Thank You to my Lord. Often, and without guile, as a little girl.
Bonnie Derksen04/25/07
Jacquelyn, I enter my name along with many before me and congratulate you for a well-deserved win.
Such a precious story needs to be immortalized on paper, written so that many can share in its heartwarming tale. Thank you...