Today's Scripture Reading
The Widow's Offering
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 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.
"Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'Truly, I tell you, this poor woman has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” -Mark 12:43
My husband has been out of work since March 21, 2011. We are on food stamps. I have heard politicians talking on the news, “putting down” food stamps and seemingly those who rely upon them to help squeak by. So often I feel that those leaders doing the talking have no idea how it feels to scrape together enough for a rent payment, or to wake up each day worrying about basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. I wish that those at the top who make the decisions knew more what it was like to live the day-to-day lives of average persons or even “poor” lives, so that they could come to better know the people they represent.
We get an allotted monthly amount on the food stamps. It feels sort of like a payday when I see the amount we can use is now there in the account, and I am glad that I know we will be able to get food. But being on food stamps is not at all my ideal way to live. The ideal would be for my husband, who has been looking for a job so long now, to obtain and keep a job, especially one which uses his talents and abilities. Poverty is not always a choice, and it is certainly not ours.
In church, there will come the time when we all make our budget pledges for the work of the church. During these times my husband and I have felt and will feel again what it is like to make the “widow's offering.” Right now we are unable to give to the church and those in need as we have been able to give in the past. This hurts. We keep telling ourselves that the amount does not matter. We give what we can in the process of trying to live on what we have, all while working for a better day. Meanwhile, we try to give of our talents and time where we can.
In the Bible I find comfort in the examples of Jesus finding ways to supply what it was that the people around him really needed. Sometimes Jesus, too, seemed to get really frustrated when leaders who were supposed to work together to help those in need instead were spending so much time fussing with each other and arguing over positions. Jesus seemed to have some of his strongest words for the leaders who became unable to see or to focus on the daily livable needs of the people, or good strategies of how to best help people help themselves.
God has given enough resources to be available for us all. Jesus taught ways to work together and help each other so that our resources could be used for the good of all, including those who were in positions where they were barely making it. Perhaps giving of our gifts means not just giving our money but working to help people work together, so that whatever it is that we bring before God as our gift, we can hear God saying, "She gave the best she could of what she had to give," or "He gave the best he could of what he had to give."
O God, we call to you out of our deepest poverty, whatever that place is for each of us on this day. We pray that whatever it is that we have, and whereever it is that we go, you grant us the ability to find how to give faithfully in love to you and your people.
We pray for the ability to see the needs of each of your children in our lives, and to work together with each other, even when it is difficult, because this is what you call us to do.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Today's devotion was shared by
Marci McGowan, with Deb Phelps, prayer, and editor
Marci McGowan is a regular at DisciplesNet Church, and a member of First Christian Church, Asheville, NC, USA. By trade Marci is a graphic designer. She is also an aspiring writer who has a knack for sharing her insights of finding God in everyday life.