Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Mark 12: 38-44 (NRSV)
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
How many of us consider ourselves to be generous? How do you define generosity? Are the rich people who put large sums of money in the treasury generous? Was the widow who only put in a couple of pennies generous? Our world today runs on large donations. It is the big bucks and the show-me-the-money attitudes that dominate the economy. What could anyone do with only a couple of pennies? What difference could they make? But Jesus points out this widow and tells us that her offering is noteworthy, even more than the other offerings given to the Temple treasury that day. With Jesus, attitude means more than amount. Jesus tells us the widow gave all she had, out of her poverty, out of her weakness, out of her vulnerabilities; she gave it all to God. The others we are told gave from their abundance, the surplus, the extra, their comfort.
The story of the widow’s offering is good news to us, regardless of the amount currently in your checking account. We learn from her that we do not give in order to get. We give to show thankfulness for what we have. We also learn that generosity has nothing to do with tangible wealth, so anyone can be generous. Generosity has more to do with the attitude in your heart than the money in your wallet. Generosity is an attitude within you.
We also see that God will use, even bless, what we offer. What is small to us and insignificant in our eyes may be more than enough for God to use as long as we offer it with grateful hearts. Are we giving to God because we feel that we have too, or because the preacher says that it is time to take an offering? Or are we giving to God because we are grateful for all God has given to us? Are we willing to give our all like this widow, because we know that God has got this and it will be ok? Or are we only giving God the leftovers, the abundance as long as God gives it to us first? Big gift or little gift, it is the attitude of the heart that God looks upon. May we all learn to be as generous as this widow.
Generous God, you bless us better than we deserve. Help us to have generous hearts when we may feel that there is nothing we could offer to our neighbors. Amen.
Go with God!