A year and a half ago our lives radically changed. We had waited 7 long years to have a baby, and his arrival meant the end of a season of adult life and the start of something totally new. The thing is, I was never a person who sought this particular role of caregiver voluntarily. I did not babysit as a teenager. Truthfully, it has always come difficult to me. So being a parent to a new person, a very NEEDY new person has been hard for my very selfish brain.
There are lots of seasons in our lives that lead us to focus on our deficits. Maybe the commute to your current job is taxing your time and emotional health. Maybe your relationship status makes you long for something different, more peaceful, more rich. Maybe your finances leave you feeling you are falling behind the 8 ball week after week with only uncertainty facing your future.
In the Gospels, Jesus is sitting with his disciples watching people give their offerings. In that world, it was a public event, on the way into the temple... imagine us parading our checks before we sat down in church. Jesus is irritated with the display until he sees a widow give a couple of small coins - so small it was a truly inconsequential amount. However, Jesus points her generosity out to his disciples, and the ages, explaining that "...Truly I tell you, this poor widow 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.” (From Mark 12:43&44)
This story is a great illustration of our love and advocacy for tithing. Throughout the scriptures, God invites us to give - not based on a certain sum or dollar amount - AND never to be impressive. Instead, God lovingly invites us to acknowledge all that He has given - our portion - and to offer from that honestly. God serves us each a dollop of resources- just like around the table at a meal.
What is your portion? What has God given you? Are you devoted to building God's kingdom from your portion?
Jesus lifted up the Widow - not JUST because she gave so generously of her portion. The widow was living the faith that seeks and finds our generous God. In one of his most important teachings, Jesus states that "whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..." It may sound overly simplistic, but if God is who He says He is, then God met the widow with provision - and God will meet us the same. That full portion widow invested was a statement of outrageous and powerful faith! And her action undoubtably led to God's outpouring of care and faithfulness.
Simply put, we all want more. However, God CAN NOT increase our portion - any portion - that is not investing in the Kingdom of God with faith and love. How could God?
So if you feel like you have a widow's portion right now, it's okay to acknowledge that honestly. Give faithfully and generously with it and watch and see. God will meet you wherever you are. And if you are faithful with what the portion you have right now, small as it may seem, you will experience God's care and increase and provision. I believe that with all my heart, mind, and spirit.