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A Widow’s gift

Jesus watched people dropping gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“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 21:1-4)

When reading this story, you tend to think about money. If the story is only about money, the widow is the perfect giver. Not content to give God her leftovers, she gives it all. Giving generously is important. But Jesus is teaching a far deeper lesson.

Jesus said: They have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she has given everything.

One group gives what they always give, do what they always do and live their lives pretty much as always. They might skip an occasional Starbucks or a nicer meal but the sacrifice, the testing of their faith, the commitment to God is minimal.

What would it mean if we were willing to step away from our cocoon of comfort and safety and give everything? How would that change us? Would we act differently?

What if giving everything meant changing the way you act around your friends, your family? What if giving everything meant changing the way you spend your free time or reevaluating your career choice? What if giving everything meant a drastic change in your lifestyle?

Years ago, I was closer to the faith of the widow, making significant commitments that changed my life dramatically. But as time passed, I became more comfortable and secure. I too need to listen carefully to the words of Jesus and reconsider my lifestyle. The story of the widow’s extraordinary gift is a story about sacrificial commitment and ultimately what it takes to deepen our faith.

“They have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she has given everything.”

Brian Masinick managed and directed my Sowing Seeds Prayer Ministry and website for many years. During that time, he lost his job several times due to industry layoffs. Brian experienced heartache and tragedy that would severely test anyone’s faith. Yet he has remained a leader for our ministry, answering the prayers of thousands of people worldwide with continual words of encouragement and comfort.

Brian wrote to one person seeking advice, “For every struggle, there are things to learn, people to meet, and ways to encourage others. If you look and pray, there are plenty of opportunities out there, and if you are bold enough to seek them, I am positive that God will not only bless you, He will also take good care of you, and ultimately reward you. I am not done struggling; neither am I done working hard, doing my best, praying for others, and trusting God for everything. May God bless you and provide a bright path for you, even when things seem discouraging. Look for what God is doing in your life. And I am positive that He, in His time, will show you something wonderful.”

Brian demonstrates the faith of the widow in so many ways. He writes:

For every struggle, there are things to learn, people to meet and ways to encourage others.

If you look and pray there are plenty of opportunities.

I am not done struggling.

Even when things seem discouraging, look for what God is doing in your life.

I am positive that He, in His time, will show you something wonderful.

Two people make their commitment before God. One writes a big check that is only a portion of what he is capable of. The other offers everything she has in faith and trust that ultimately God will provide. Understanding she is not done struggling but looks forward to the opportunities ahead.

“They have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she has given everything.”

Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.