We've all heard that turn of phrase, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." So much of the time, we apply that to the aspects of our lives that we deem to be important: our jobs, our houses, our hobbies, etc. However, do we apply that to our spiritual lives? Do we do our faith well? If you're reading this blog, chances are you are at least familiar with church. You might even go to church sometimes. Maybe you go every Sunday. But even then, are you practicing your faith just on Sundays? What about the other six days of the week?
This week, we heard about a widow's gift. This story occurs in two gospels: Mark and Luke. I'm taking the one from Mark to feature here. It is Mark 12:41-44.
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
The rich people threw in what they had so that they could look good. The coins made a loud sound falling into the collection. The louder the sound, the better they looked. The rich people were giving out of their surplus. They were giving off the top of their money heap. They didn't need what they gave. They didn't care. It made them look good and that was why they gave.
When the widow threw her offering into the pile, it didn't make a noise. She had two pieces of metal. We could call them coins, but they were basically paper thin and very small. When she threw them in, there was not very much sound at all. We can guess that no one heard it. We can most likely assume that no one was really paying attention. In the eyes of the world, she wasn't important. She didn't really have much to toss into the collection. She was a widow. She didn't have a high standing in the community because she was no longer married.
I'll cut to the chase here. She gave all she had. She literally gave it her all. She didn't do it for the looks, there was no flare--she simply gave all she had. How many times do we do things out of want of glory? When we are toddlers, our favorite phrase is, "Look at me! Look what I can do!" We learn and we grow. However, when it comes to looking good, I do not believe we are far from "Look at me! Look what I can do!" God sees what we do. God sees our hearts as well.
God knows when we are giving from the surplus. When we give of our time, talents, and treasures, God sees when we are giving what extra we might have. If we are giving out of our extra, yes, it may do a little good. But it won't do you much good. You end up staying exactly where you are. You end up doing exactly what you've been doing all this time. You stagnate. You might be fine with that. Some people are fine with not moving forward.
But just think of what would happen if you gave your all. No good adventure starts with, "Once upon a time there was a guy who paid bills until he was old and died." The good adventures start with something like "Once upon a time, there was a guy who had a stirring discontent deep in his soul..." These adventures involve the main character giving up everything for the adventure. Think about Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit. At first, he was going to stay put where he was. He would live out the rest of the days in his hobbit hole. Then, Gandalf scratched into his door a symbol that would invite an assortment of dwarves to his house and would involve Bilbo in a life-changing adventure--if he so chose to go with them.
He could have stayed put. He could have stayed in his hobbit hole in The Shire. When invited and even coerced into adventure, he put the breaks on. He said no. He woke up and immediately regretted that "no." He then gave up everything, ran as fast as he could, and he went on an adventure. He gave it his all. And the return was greater than he could have ever imagined.
When we give our all, the return on it is more than we can ever imagine. God never wastes what we give. We might feel like we are holding onto what little we have. The widow didn't have much either. The coins that we have may represent our calendars and our checkbooks. Those two things are very telling of our lives. What they look like looks an awful lot like what we look like. How we spend our money and our time is what we are giving ourselves to. The widow was able to give up her coins. She threw all of it in. She gave her all. Can you do that? Can you give your all to God?