This week in Sanctuary worship we’ll be looking at the story generally known as “The Widow’s Mite.” Jesus was watching people coming to the temple to leave their cash offering, and among those who were wealthy and threw in large sums of money, he noticed a poor widow who came through the crowd to deposit two small coins in the collection box. Jesus then said to his disciples: “All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”
It’s important to note that the point of this story isn’t the amount of the widow’s gift that got Jesus’ attention, but how that gift represented her deep desire to give — to be part of something bigger than her own self or her own needs, even if that meant giving sacrificially when she really didn’t have anything to spare.
I think with this story in mind, it’s time for all of us to turn our attention to our deep and prayerful consideration of what gift, for each of us, would similarly represent our deep desire to give — to be part of the Next90 Building Expansion Project that is so much bigger than our individual selves. The challenge before us now is to discern what level of gift truly represents our passion and our commitment to this church—and what gift represents who we are and how we have been blessed.
Sure, we all have to work to earn our money. We all have bills and expenses we must pay. It’s very easy to say, especially if money happens to be tight right now, “I can’t participate in that.”
But as the widow in this story demonstrates, giving in this scenario is about much, much more than amount. This is a call for everybody to participate — for each one of us to invest something in order to become part of our Next90. The issue isn’t how much we give, but that we give in proportion to what we have received.
I’m talking about proportionate giving. I’m talking about making a commitment to Next 90 that really represents the giver.
So how do we determine what gift really represents who we are? Well, first of all, figuring this out takes a lot of thought — careful and prayerful consideration of what level of commitment will best reflect our personal commitment to the expanding the mission and ministries of our church in general, as well as and our commitment to those who will come after us. We much each ask ourselves, “Is the commitment I am making a real commitment — for me? Is the gift I am considering a gift in proportion to my ability to give?”
That one poor widow’s small gift was completely overlooked by everyone — except Jesus. He noticed her gift and called it the “greatest gift.” And, that gift and its giver have been immortalized to the extent that “The Widow’s Mite” (as it’s expressed in the King James translation) made its way into the English language as an expression of sacrificial, proportionate giving.
What this says to me is that this story, through the ages, has come to the aid of anyone who thinks, I can’t afford to give, or I don’t have enough money to spare to be part of this a way to think creatively — and to find that gift that will be representative for them.
We all have various venues of giving: we can give out of our normal cash flow, out of accumulated assets, or appreciated stock, to name a few. We can also think and pray about what we can give up in order to give. Sacrificial giving is finding a gift that represents what you consider important.
How you find that level of giving that will best represent you and your commitment is as individual as you are.
Have you ever wanted to participate in something and thought you couldn’t and then found a way? When have you been most creative in your giving? How will you find the gift or level of commitment that truly represents both your desire to participate and your ability to give to our Next90 capital campaign?
I look forward to exploring these ideas with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary as we hear and consider the inspiring story of one nameless giver who gave a gift that got the attention of Jesus.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster