I have been wrestling with an idea for the last several days. It makes me uneasy. I keep batting it away, making excuses, and burying it in busyness.
It goes against everything in our culture, even our “church, follower of Christ,” culture. The account that has stirred up my imagination is captured in a short four-line story toward the end of Jesus’ ministry.
“Just then he (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, ‘The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford — she gave her all!’”Luke 21:1-4 MSG.
Just previous to this, Jesus had been debating with the “religious righteous.” He was tired so he sat down and his head drooped between his hands. When he looked up he saw people flinging their offerings into the collection boxes known as Trumpets and then came a poor widow.
Evidently, because Jesus saw her heart, he knew that these two pennies she gave was all she had left. To most? It was not worth much.
However, those two pennies far out valued all the other offerings that day, because it was everything she had.
I wonder what it would be like to offer Jesus our everything, our all? The last “two pennies” we had? Not just our material wealth, but our emotional, spiritual, and our relational wealth?
What if we chose to give extravagantly to the thing God esteems most, his greatest treasure? What if we gave our all, our everything, to the people in our lives?
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What if we expended ourselves serving, helping, listening to the nosey neighbor nobody wants to talk to or the crazy cousin we’d like to prune off the family tree?
What if we were to give all that we have, give until it begins to look like we might actually run out of “enough?” What if we served even when it’s the last thing we want to do after the exhausting day we’ve had? What if we loved deeply even when we are positive we will never see the same affection returned?
I hate to be Captain Obvious, but the “people” in our lives are the only things that go with us into eternity. They are God’s best idea, his most valuable possession and they are worth giving sacrificially of our lives.
What would it look like for you to give your “two penny” offering, the last of your wealth, unto God?
We are never told what happened to the poor widow who gave her last two pennies to God.
I have wondered about that... for about two seconds. Knowing Jesus, I don’t believe for a heartbeat that was the end of her story. With humility, she gave her everything. I think the God who directs the earth to spin took detailed care of her needs.
What does your “last two pennies” look like? Just as Jesus saw the widow that day, will God catch a glimpse of you today giving your extravagant everything?