And in the story and the gift of a widow’s mite, I remember once again what it means to give all I have to give.
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’” – Luke 21:1-4
My husband recently co-hosted a trip to Israel with members of a ministry he directs. The itinerary was almost identical to the trip he hosted last October, with the exception that I was not able to join him this year.
As is the case with all missions trips that Jim has taken without me, we have learned to navigate the waters of international data, text and cell phone coverage. I’ve come to accept that with his solo overseas travel comes texts that can lovingly land at all hours of my day and night.
One night last week, specifically at 3:00 am REM time, I received a text with photos of potential gift items. I’ll admit – I have many weaknesses – one of which is jewelry. Jim, knowing my penchant for pendants, was wanting to know if I was interested in a couple of different items he was looking at in a Bethlehem antiquities shop where the group was at that moment. After a few texts back and forth, and admitting that a widow’s mite was intriguing, I left it up to Jim and fluffed my pillow.
I have trouble going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, and tonight was no exception. I tried to count (shelties), pray, think of the CLA webcast I was set to run in a few short hours, all trying to settle my thoughts. But on this night, my thoughts turned to the weight of a widow’s mite and how heavy that would feel around my neck.
Jewelry can have differing significance depending on the occasion on which it was received, or the personal meaning behind it. Much of my jewelry comes from trips and reminds me of wonderful times spent with my husband, experiencing God’s grand creation. Yes, I do have a cross necklace. When I wear it, it is a reminder of the tremendous burden our Lord suffered for me – His redeeming grace.
But how would I feel about wearing a widow’s mite? More than the obvious financial sacrifice it represented, to me it would mean: “What am I doing for the Lord that is stretching me?”
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” ~ James 2:14
And, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” ~ James 2:17-18
And then Luke tells us, the widow gave all she had. Did I want that reminder – what have I given up for Christ today? Honestly, not even close to what the widow did.
I picked up Jim at the airport this morning. We came home, unpacked his bags, started the laundry, and then… he gave me a gift. He had stayed on the lookout the remainder of the trip until he found a widow’s mite pendant that he really liked; and as I type this blog, it is around my neck. It feels very heavy, although it doesn’t weigh more than an ounce. When I wear this coin, it will remind me of Luke’s inspired words and I will strive to increase my offerings to my Savior.
I look forward to meeting the widow some day and sharing my story as it continues to unfold. The Holy Spirit has different ways of speaking to each of us. He knows my soft spots, my trigger points, and He never amazes to prick my heart.
I love you Lord!
Suzy West is the vice president of operations and finance for Christian Leadership Alliance. She is also a graduate of the CLA Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) program and now serves as faculty for the CLA Online Academy.
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