The Poor Widow: Giving it all. { Day 8 }

 

READ: Mark 12:41-44

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 12:43-44 }

There is a YouTube video that went viral recently where a couple of young men staged a “social experiment.”  In the experiment, they visited a mall food court and asked several people who were eating if they would share any of their food. They would ask, “I’m really hungry.  Could you spare any food?” Every person the young men asked turned them down.

Next, the young men went outside to a park.  They found a homeless person laying in the grass sleeping.  One approached him with a bag of fast food and a drink, asking him if he was hungry.  The homeless man immediately accepted the food, said, “Thank you,” and began to scarf down the french fries.  Moments later, the second young man approached the homeless man as he ate.  “I’m really hungry.  Could you spare any food?”  The homeless man, without hesitation, reached into the bag and handed the man a cheeseburger.

            At the end of the video, it says, Sometimes, those who have less, give more. 

This reminds me of a story in the book of Mark where Jesus sat and watched people putting money in the offering.  He watched as some rich people gave large sums of money and then as a widow only put in two small coins.  Oddly, Jesus commended her for giving “more” than anyone else.  “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 12:44}. 

What is the explanation for this phenomenon…the poor out-giving the rich?  Those who have less giving all they have, while it is a struggle for those who have much to even give out of their abundance?

In Matthew 5:3, Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with this: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  These “poor in spirit” people are those that recognize their need for God.  They are aware of their neediness, their depravity.  They are blessed because they are aware that they are hungry.  And it’s often those who have felt the pain of hunger, the desperation of being in need, that are the first ones willing to give.

Many of us don’t understand what it feels like to be in need.  Why does a homeless person share his food?  Because he has felt hunger himself.  Why does a poor widow give all that she has?  Because she understands that her survival doesn’t depend on money.  They both trust God and can freely give Him everything.

We hold on tightly to things when we don’t have real trust in God. When our focus is inward instead of upward. It’s easy to think, “This is mine; I earned it.”  It’s harder to acknowledge, “Everything I have belongs to God.”  But it’s true.

Sometimes we hold tightly to things- not just money, but relationships, jobs, material possessions, goals and dreams- because we feel they are a part of us.  Maybe we have invested time and resources.  Maybe we have been hurt, and we are afraid if we don’t try to maintain control, we will get hurt again.

The problem in our need to control is the tendency to grasp onto the things we love with clenched fists, birthed out of fear.  Fear breeds torment and worry, preventing us from experiencing the joy of unconditional love and trust.

Instead of holding so tightly onto what we value, what would happen if we just held it all with open hands? What if our money, our relationships, our jobs, our dreams, hopes, and plans, were all freely offered to God?  What if we trusted Him more than ourselves?  And what if the places where we have experienced pain opened our eyes to see others who are still hurting?

Let’s be like the homeless feeding the hungry.  Like the widow who only has two coins, but gives them both.  Let’s get lost in loving Jesus, trusting that we can never out-give Him.  Jesus tells us the key to living is laying our lives down: Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it, {Matthew 10:39}. 

 

REFLECT:

  • What are you holding onto that God may be asking you to trust Him with?
  • Where has your heart grown hard to those in need around you? How can you be intentional about looking for someone in need this week and give to them in some way?
  • How might God be wanting you to turn a hurt or pain over to Him and trust Him to use it for His glory and the good of others?

PRAYER:

God, help us to look beyond what’s immediately in front of us.  It’s easy to see our needs, and the needs of our family.  But help us to look further, to see those who are so close to your heart- the needy, the lost, and the broken.  We confess that we are all broken and needy apart from you.  Help us to tear down the walls that divide, and to freely give love as we have freely received it from You.  We choose to put our trust in You- we can give you everything because You are a good God who has our very best interest at heart.  Thank you.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Elizabeth Oschwald
Elizabeth Oschwald
I’m Elizabeth, wife to an industrious, handsome fixer-upper {I mean…he fixes things, not he needs to be fixed} and Mom/Stepmom {a.k.a. Imma} to 6 amazing kids. I homeschool the ones I hatched myself, and we live on our family farm in central Illinois. I love to write about our real-life experiences, how Jesus is in everything, and how God can redeem even the biggest messes in the most beautiful, unexpected (and very Brady) ways. You can read more about my crazy crew at www.AddingJoy.com!

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