Read: Mark 12:35-44
“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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “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.” (Mark 12:41-44 NLT)
In the United States, and North Dakota in particular, we are very proud of being self-made, independent people (how else could you survive a -35 degree winter with a 65 mph wind). In fact, that is the backbone of America. We built our country on the backs of hard-working men and women, who pushed through the struggles of life, and literally built the world’s strongest economy, best military, and ensured our citizens the most freedoms of anywhere in the world.
There is nothing wrong with hard work. The problem comes when we think that we do it all on our own. I like to think I am a “self-made man.” I worked hard to get where I am. I work hard at my job. I… I… I… I’m sure God gets really tired of hearing me say that. It would be more accurate if I said that, “I – was blessed with an amazing family. I – have been blessed with many gifts, with which God has trusted. I – would do my best to improve the world. I – am thankful for what God has given me. He – is the reason for all that I have been given in my life!”
It seems that the more we have, the more we forget why we have it. Maybe when we have more needs, it is easier to see God fill those needs – I’m not sure. The widow in the story remembers her blessings. She remembers what God has given her and gives back accordingly.
And I don’t think the passage is just about financial gifts. I think it is about our trust in God. Do we trust God to provide for us? If we do, it does not matter how much we have left after we give back to God. If we really trust God, we will know that He will provide for us.
It is hard to trust in God – to give back what is His to start with, because without God, we would have nothing. The faith it must take to give all of what you have, believing that NO MATTER WHAT, God will provide for you! I will continue to work to be more like the woman of the story – to give extravagantly and be radically hospitable, and to worship passionately – to trust in God, that I was given the necessary gifts to help others come closer to Him.
Aaron Van Ningen