Today I will go and sit in my little classroom at church, with my little three-year-old "bitties", as I fondly call them. I love these children. I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes, I love the way they fidget, I love the way they smile, I love the way they learn. Little three year-old sponges, who soak it in and delight in learning new things.
Today we will talk about the widow and her offering of love and faith and trust in her Lord. I will read the story to them out of the Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 38-44. The story of how Jesus spoke and taught the people at the temple. How he spoke of the hypocrisy of the scribes - how they puff themselves up in their importance, take the best seats, make long prayers in pretense. Then he sat, and watched the people drop their money in the treasury. Many people came and gave. Many rich people gave out of their riches, giving large sums.
But then, that little widow. I like to think of her as almost shy, quietly walking to the treasury box, her eyes on the floor. Her movements slow, but sure. Her hand reaches out, the sleeve of her robe possibly a little threadbare. And from her hand, drop two little coins - two little copper coins, which together add up to a penny. As they drop into the box, perhaps clinking on the other offerings given by those before her, she turns and walks away. Her gift given.
And Jesus calls his disciples to him and points out her example. He tells them that though her gift is small and meager in comparison to some of the other gifts, in His heavenly economy, it is greater, yes greater, than those other gifts. Others gave out of their abundance, which, don't get me worng, they are also called to do. But they gave and still have enough to be comfortable. But the widow, she gave all that she had. All. She was a poor woman, yet that did not stop her from giving. I would venture to say that she had a thankful heart, a great faith in her Lord. That though she gave all she had, she knew her Heavenly Father would take care of her. She reached her hand out in faith and let those coins drop into the box. All that she had.
Will God use our gifts we give out of our abundance? You bet He will. He tells us in another parable that whoever has much, and takes care of it the way a good steward should, they will receive more. But how often do we give sacrificially? How often do we give our all? How often do we share all that we have with others less fortunate? How often do we hold out our hand in hospitality to give out of our own poverty? How often do we open our entire self up and give it to our LORD?
In this coming time of holiday festivities, as we give thanks for what we have....we should also be thinking of how we can give. How we can share with the world around us. How we can step out in faith, knowing that God blesses our giving. How we can be like the widow and offer all that we have to our Father in Heaven to use as He wills. Not just part of our heart, not just part of our mind, not just part of our strength...but all of ourselves...out of the poverty of our sin, can we give Him ALL of us? Imagine how He will use you, when you freely, in faith, give your all to your Lord.....