“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44, English Standard Version)
All this while Jesus seemed to observe the action without indicating his presence. The poor widow and the rich folks didn’t seem to realise that Jesus was actually watching them; he simply took his seat opposite where the action took place and became a spectator.
Now, consider this – this woman wasn’t just a widow. It was as if losing a husband wasn’t bad enough. She was also broke. I’d like to think that the bible used this extremity to demonstrate that if someone like her can give, then surely everyone can – what excuse could we give?
It’s not about the amount but about the heart and attitude behind it.
Now, how did Jesus honour this poor widow? He commended her actions and said that it outdid the rich. I don’t know about you but I am relieved that Jesus doesn’t determine the significance of our offering by its monetary value but by its motivational source.
It’s not about how big the amount is, but about how big your heart is.
Jesus used a different yardstick of measurement and we should be glad, otherwise only the rich can move God. Hence I conclude that it’s not how much we give but how we give it. And it’s about what God can do with what we give. So let’s focus on what God can do and not what man can do.
A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it hurts. I’m sure that the poor widow considered the consequences of her actions and contribution before she actually gave the two copper coins. She probably knew that she would have to starve for the week. She probably knew that she would be worrying when she slept that night. Yet she gave and she gave until it hurt. And well, she got the attention of Jesus.
If we want to get the attention of Jesus, we’ll have to give an amount that hurts. And I’m not even talking about just giving our monies. I’m talking about our time, resources and talents. Our reward is the commendation of Jesus, and I pray that that itself is enough for you (as if the mere attention of Jesus isn’t enough).
A new chapter brings about a new routine. This one begins with an early morning run, which might just turn out to be an early morning conversation with Jesus – before the motivational self-talk begins towards the end of the 20 minutes.
I haven’t gotten up this early in a long time and while it feels slightly strange because my bio clock still isn’t tuned, but I must say it feels great. The aroma of the morning air, the sound of awakening birds, the sight of old folks doing taichi and the taste of the Lord’s daily new mercies.
I can’t wait to begin, really. In 15 minutes, I’ll be taking the familiar 111 to church, except that this time I’m not going as a lay worker, but a full time staff. I need to learn to remain humble and to always struggle with God and not with systems or people. I must learn to crawl, then walk, then run. It would be fatalistic to fly immediately.
Well, here I go. The page turns. I’ve spent the last 26 years writing my introduction. I love You, Lord. I will learn to trust in You with all my heart and rely not on my own understanding. In all my ways I will (seek to) acknowledge You and You will direct my footsteps. Proverbs 3:5-6.