41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”
I recently offered a gift to a friend that I thought was heartfelt and I knew was needed and would be much appreciated. It really wasn’t much at all, but later, as I dropped off the item, I wondered if it was too much. I knew that the person receiving the gift was unable to repay my efforts. I also knew that I truly didn’t care to be repaid in any way. The gift was a little extra gleaned from all that God has graced my husband and me with. Although I had gone a little out of my way to create such a gift, I did give from my extras.
Later, when I received a note back from my friend, the note moved me to tears. The note was not so much as a thank you, but was as a recognition of our friendship. The note was truly a love offering. In every way, I knew the words were all the person had to give and that these meant so much more. His written words spoke from the heart and of family and showed the true risk of Christian love and devotion. It was the measure of offering himself that moved me to tears. I thought of Jesus.
I grimaced. I am like the careless givers that Jesus describes. Like the rich tossing their castaways into the collection plate, or perhaps someone just trying to keep pace, how easily do we give without true risk? Perhaps we lessen how much something means or we discount the risk on the part of the faithful giver. How easily can we overlook what is being offered, particularly when it is a gift of part of oneself? My friend’s note was the smallest of gifts that was created and given as a piece of himself.
The love note from my friend challenged me to remember the widow’s gift. In my friend’s life, as in the widow’s world, the gifts offered were profound. These gifts offered were as pieces of themselves and not just as one’s extra castaways.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Think about a time in which you received a gift that felt like it was truly a love offering from someone else. How is/was that special to you? What was the risk of the giver and how does that remind you of God’s ultimate gift?
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for all that you have given us. We are blessed to have so much to offer others. As we help one another in Christian love, help us to know how best to truly step out in faith to be your hands and feet in the world. Help us to risk sharing Christ’s love. Amen.