** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I was raised attending church every Sunday and every Wednesday. On Sunday mornings, an offering plate was passed around the congregation, and people were expected to tithe each week. An usher would pass the offering plate around, starting at either the front or the back row of the church sanctuary, and move their way forward or back accordingly.
Each row would have an opportunity to hold the offering plate and drop in their donations or tithe to the church that week. One Sunday, I was sitting next to an older woman, and she reached into her purse and took out a crisp $50 bill. However, before she placed her money into the offering plate, she reached into the offering plate and removed two $20 bills and a $5 bill.
After removing the $45 from the offering plate, she placed her $50 bill into the offering plate and passed the offering plate along to the next person. The usher observed the entire procedure as well as myself and the person on the other side of this woman.
None of us said a word; we all exchanged surprised glances regarding the transaction we had just witnessed. I was young at the time, but I can only hope that the usher mentioned the incident to the pastor as well as to the treasurer of the church. Of course, it’s understandable that she was simply making change, but is it ethical to make a change in the offering plate as she did? What do you think? Is it ethical to make a change in the offering plate?