Eliza and I had a marathon grocery shopping trip. My list was two pages long and I even went to the trouble to group all the like items together, in hopes that it would keep me from constantly backtracking to pick up butter when I had already made it to the cereal aisle (I hate it when that happens!).
In spite of my meticulous planning, I hadn’t realized that Friday morning at 10:00 on a holiday weekend was going to be insanely busy. To top it off, it was like a meandering family reunion, aisle after painful aisle. Old friendships were rekindled, new friendships formed over what brand of cake mix was the best deal, and carts seemed to block my every move.
I had no choice but to get in the zone. I stacked stuff in the cart like it was my job (because it kind of is). I tuned out Eliza’s constant chatter just enough to stay focused, yet engage her at all the right pauses (she doesn’t take many). We kept going and going and going. And when the last thing was crossed off the list, there was absolutely no room left for one. more. thing. I know this for sure, because I had to make Eliza carry the last two items.
We unloaded everything onto the conveyor belt and I watched the eyes of the young cashier widen at the sheer number of items I had packed into the cart. All I had to utter was “Eleven year old boy” and she quietly nodded in understanding.
Suddenly Eliza was by my side, with her new wallet she’d purchased at a garage sale the day before. It has a monogrammed “M” on it, of course. She motioned for me to lean down to her and put her hand up to my ear.
“I want to help you pay,” she whispered sweetly, pointing to the small mountain of pennies, dimes and nickels inside.
I truly tried to keep a straight face. But the contrast between what she had and what I was going to need to pay was so huge that I had a hard time holding in my laughter for her very serious request.
There was a time, after Jesus taught in the temple, that he sat down and watched the people going in and out, attending to their own lives. He watched them come in and put their offering money in the boxes, many of them making it apparent that they were giving large amounts. But then there was a widow who put in two very small coins. And Jesus called His disciples to him, pointed her out quietly and taught them what it means to live in an upside down kingdom. “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together,” He told them. “All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford— she gave her all.” (Mark 12:43-44)
And I think about Eliza and her purse full of coins she was willing to give to me— and I wish I hadn’t laughed. Because Eliza didn’t understand the gap between what I needed and what she had. She was simply willing to give it all.
Somewhere along the lines, we realize the chasm between what little we have and what is needed… and we start to believe the lie that what we have to offer won’t ever be enough. We become afraid to give of ourselves generously. Giving freely can make us feel vulnerable. It can shape how valuable we feel. So when we only have broken pieces to offer, we quietly hide them away, hoping no one will notice.
But what if we dared to give like the widow, not some, but all? What if we gave until it hurt? Not just out of our abundance— but out of our poverty?
In our families.
In our time.
In our marriages.
In our finances.
In our church.
In the world.
In our souls.
Are we willing to give what we have to God when it doesn’t seem like enough? When our lives are a mess and we don’t have it all put together, will we be brave enough to still give out of what we lack? Can we truly trust God to use our broken lives for His kingdom?
The truth is, we don’t know the end to the story. We don’t know how the widow ate her next meal or if she went hungry. The brilliant writer of the story left that part out, because he knew it didn’t matter. The lesson is not in having a comfortable, wonderful, happy life… it’s learning to live dependent on God, willing to give what little we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much of anything.
May you surrender your broken “not enoughs” and find a way to give extravagantly today. May you see the stark difference between what you have and what is needed and believe in God, who promises to transform it into enough.
I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more. Go here if you’d like to receive my posts via email. I’ll even send you a little thank you gift! –Sarah