"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Copper Coins

Today you are poor....really poor. You are a widow with no income, and the little money that you do have is not even worth one complete penny. You hear that Jesus is in town, and decide to go and see Him for yourself. You have heard about Him and His teachings, and you just must go and place an offering before Him. The only problem is that you are broke. What little you have is worth virtually nothing, but your desire is so great to give what you do have that you gather your little bit and head to the meeting place where Christ will be. When you enter, you are surrounded by numerous wealthy people who have brought wealthy offerings which is a reminder to you that you are poor and have very little to offer....What do you do? Will you sacrifice your pride and drop your miniscule offer in the same place that the wealthy left their offerings? Think...everyone will hear your tiny coins clink as you put them down and it will most likely echo throughout the room, while everyone else's offering will be quietly placed upon the offering site. Everyone may even turn around and look at you while whispering and pointing...wondering what nerve you have to even come before this majestic Man. Do you have the courage to drop your copper coins?

Mark 12:41-44 is a short and straight forward account of sacrifice in the Bible. It reads,

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 woman came and put in two very small copper coins, worthy of 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." (NIV)

I began to think about this scripture. At first glance, one would think that this scripture is about tithing and money, and to some degree it is, but I saw a larger focus in the event of the widow's offering; sacrifice and giving one's all. I begin to think about areas in my life that I am like this widow woman. I asked myself what areas of my life am I giving Christ all of me. And, in what areas am I like the wealthy crowd, looking as if I am giving much, but still holding back from offering my all to Christ? As I thought through each list, I imagined placing each on a scale with one side tipping downward, outweighing the other. I would love to say that the widow woman side of my scale always remains in a downward position, signifying that I always give Christ all of me, but I would be fooling you and me, but not God. I must be honest and say that the wealthy side of my scale that held the areas of my life in which I hold out on giving God my all often tips downward, leaving my heavenly Father in a fog of disappointment.

When we stop and evaluate our relationship with Christ, most will find that we often fall short of giving HIm our all. One of my spiritual mentors and I had a wonderful conversation the other night. We were discussing how busy life can get and how rapidly it can become that way. One second we are enthralled in the Word, our quiet time, our study time, and our prayer time with God, and the next minute we are so busy that our heads are spinning and we don't know whether we are going to coming. Busyness can keep us from giving our all to Christ! Busyness is not the only culprit that robs me of our personal time with God, but it is probably my biggest one.

Now, Christ had all of these magnificent and valuable offerings, but the poor widow woman's offering was absolutely priceless in His eyes. Although to the others, her offering looked worthless, Christ found the most worth in it because it was all she had. She had given her absolute all! She had nothing else left to give. She sacrificed everything.

Think about it...she sacrificed her power to meet her own needs because even then, you had to have a little something to get daily living supplies. She sacrificed her pride by entering the presence of those extremely wealthy people and risking total and utter embarrassment. And, I can only imagine that she sacrificed her body to travel probably by foot to get to where Christ was!

When I reflect upon the wealthy crowd vs. the widow woman; I want to strive to be like the widow woman. I want to offer my all to Christ. Although my all may not be as valuable in the eyes of others surrounding me, I want Christ to be pleased that I offered Him all that I have. My all may not be your all. My copper coins may be just taking the time to pray for others, while your copper coins may be teaching Sunday school. Just because someone is unable to see and notice what your copper coins are, does not mean that they are invaluable to God. Offer all that you have.

Each of us has a purpose and a role that we have been assigned in building the kingdom of God. Don't allow what it appears that someone else is offering Christ to hinder you from offering what little you may have to offer. Remember in God's eyes, your little, if it is your all, outweighs someone else's extravagant fraction of their all! Give God your all, simply because He gave, and continues to give His all to you!

Spiritual Reflections

1. Create a list of areas in your life that you feel you are giving God all of you. Create another list of areas in your life that you know you could give God more. Which one outweighs the other?

2. What are some culprits in your life that rob you from giving God your all?

3. How can you rid yourself of these culprits so that you are able to give God your all? Create a plan. Revisit this plan daily to remind yourself that you want to work towards giving God all of you.