The message was on giving. More specifically, tithing. We both were raised and taught to give. It is one of those areas where neither of us struggles to obey. Not sure exactly why that is as we are not rich by any means but then, neither are we poor. We have just been well taught …. “God loves a cheerful giver”, “You can’t outgive God”, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Then there is this whole other area of giving – time.
And let the struggle begin.
We each have been given a 24 hour segment of time. Each and every day. We each have people in our lives whom we interact with, both casually and intimately. If we’re honest, some days can be exhausting, demanding more of us than we think we are able to give.
What do we do then? How do we give on those days?
These are the questions which keep running through my mind these days. I know we are nearing the end of the school year and the longing for summer vacation grows stronger with each passing day. I get that. This gnawing has to be more though. More than just feet up in the hammock, lemonade and book in hand, swinging and relaxing through my day. I don’t even have a hammock.
But I am looking for balance in my life. You know – that place where you draw the line in the sand and say, “No more”.
And then I read about “her”.
Her name not even mentioned. She is referred to as “the poor widow”. Nameless and yet she has been recorded for all of eternity. And not just once either. Her action must be significant otherwise it would never have been noticed.
She walks into the Temple, getting into line to drop her gift into the collection box. In one Gospel, we are told the rich came, putting in their large amounts. She also came, depositing her two small coins, they may have even clinked as they hit bottom, perhaps echoing in the silence. Jesus calls His disciples over and said to them:
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21:3-4, NLT)
The point Jesus is making here is that the amount given is not what counts at all. The amount counts for less than the attitude in which it is given.
Attitude matters when giving, whether it is monetarily or with time. Like the widow, we each have a decision to make, and a difficult one at that …
Out of your poverty, you can give all that you have to God, or you can give in to your depletion. Only one choice will lead you to the surplus of heaven. Only one choice will afford you the privilege of seeing the multiplication of God’s increase through you. Only one choice will invest your little and grow it into “more than all the others.”
For whenever a heart is depleted and emptied out, there’s room enough for a fresh planting of God.
(from Beyond the Scars, by F. Elaine Olsen – page 3)
On those days when I am tempted to say, “No more” may He give me a heart willing to say, “Just a little bit more. And yet a little more.”
That widow, she was something else.
In her little, she gave more.
For she gave all she had.
And Jesus noticed.