Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Widow's Mite

This week I was once again confronted with my difficulty in giving up my schedule.  I’ve shared how annoyed I was by Nate and John interrupting me – even though it turned out to be a beautiful gift from God.  The worst part is, they knew I was annoyed.  I didn’t fake it nearly as well as I had thought, and they knew.  They knew, and were still kind and took time to bless me.  Could it get worse?  Umm... yep.

This weekend I’ve been wrestling with how I stumble and stumble and stumble here.  Then, to add to my discomfort, I found something I wrote back in 2007 about this same issue.  Ugh!  Re-reading it was a humbling experience.  It was also a reminder that if I do not take up my cross daily, surrendering myself to Jesus, transformation is not going to be possible.  I am utterly dependent on God.  I cannot even be pleasant without His help!

Even if you are not struggling with my ‘mite’, I pray reading this will help encourage you to continue to surrender your own struggles to our loving, pursuing Father.  He is so good to us, and even though we fall over and over, He is with us when we cry out.  And, He will continue to work in us!  

The Widow’s Mite

My struggle with needing to control my schedule is a long one.  A few years back during my quiet time the phrase “widow’s mite of time” suddenly popped into my head.  I looked up the story and read with fresh eyes how the widow gave “out of her poverty”. 

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 fraction of a penny.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, 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

I thought about how I often feel that I have a ‘widow’s mite’ of time.  Like so many people these days, it seems a busy schedule keeps me running all day and many evenings, too.  The little bit of free time I get is my ‘me time’, typically curled up at home with a book.  I’m ashamed to say that interruptions to my carefully scheduled day annoy me.  Even worse, I’m ashamed to admit that I treat my ‘me time’ as sacrosanct and tend to resent even legitimate intrusions.

Read the last line of the widow’s story again:  “but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  What if, for me, to “put in everything”, means being willing to give God my schedule, and even my precious ‘me time’?  Giving them to Him to use as He pleases.  Being willing to completely put them aside to spend time with someone who desperately needs to experience God’s love through this earthen vessel.  This is hard.  Frankly, I’d much rather write out a check. 

Why do I need to give from my poverty?  Perhaps I need to be emptied, poured out, so that God can truly fill me.  Faith is a lot more critical, a lot more vital, when I am surrendering something that I don’t have much of.  It is easy to throw in ‘large amounts’ of my ‘wealth’, whatever that happens to be. 

The idea of giving up control over something I barely have a grip on is decidedly uncomfortable.  It is easy for me to justify continuing to hold tight – after all, I have lots of important things to accomplish, and I need to take time to rest and rejuvenate!  But, I keep going back to Jesus’ statement that the widow gave “all she had to live on”.  No caveats or conditions, she just ‘put in everything’.

Friends, I want to know – not just say I believe, but know deep down that I can trust God with my ‘widow’s mite’.  I want to be like the lilies and the birds and trust that God will give all good things to me when I seek first His kingdom (Matt. 6:26-33).  I want to be like the widow herself and just walk up and hand it all over to God’s good care.  I’m not there yet.  It’s downright scary for me to seriously consider letting go of my schedule and ‘me time’. 

Through the Spirit I am praying for the courage to ‘put in everything’.  I have to believe that if I surrender in poverty, God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).  With God’s help, I want to live in that faith – sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1). 

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