…but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. Mark 12:44 ESV
*fiction based on these verses from Mark chapter 12
I entered the temple with my tiny offering. My head was covered as I walked past the wealthy religious leaders.
I knew it was all I had.
Earlier today I had done some sewing for Ophnia. She has been so good to us. Her husband has made a good home for their family and she was able to pay me to help her with some sewing.
But I brought the coins she gave me today, to the charity box at the temple. I can’t explain why–I just felt this compulsion. My little coins wouldn’t go very far, but together with other coins, I could really help someone.
Oh, but I wondered how I would explain it to Jonah, Hosea, and Hannah. How would I fix our meal tonight? There is nothing left. Nothing. I am taking this tiny offering to our God. Will they understand? Will they question me?
Just before my husband died, we were listening to the Great Teacher speak. He speaks words of Truth like no other. We sat there listening with such peace in our hearts, overcome with the desire to share this love and compassion with others.
And then my husband died so suddenly. We never anticipated the illness that would take over his body. We hardly had time to find the doctor, and, when we did, there was nothing left to do. I held his hand in mine as he slipped away to paradise. His last words to me were a muffled whisper but they will ring loud and strong forever in my heart. “Share the Messiah’s love and compassion.” Share. And then he entered eternity.
I was stunned. Share love and compassion? I am crushed with grief! I am nothing in society now. It will be all I can do to hold onto these children of ours. The relatives have offered to take them. Take my children? Are you kidding? That would be a double heart break. I couldn’t let them go. They need me…I need them…We need each other desperately.
So that is what brought me to the temple. Here I am, bringing all we have and giving it to God. I will share the love and compassion with others. I will.
But still I wonder, What have I done?
Oh, what have I done…
I needed to act before I changed my mind. I had watched many walk past me as I stood waiting. They took bags of coins to drop in the treasury box. You would be amazed at the noise their coins made.
As I quietly moved forward, I gained confidence that this is exactly what I should do. I was not proud of my coin, but I was not ashamed, either. God’s love has compelled me to share, so sharing I am.
The children will understand, won’t they, God? Will You help me show them and teach them?
I dropped in my two small brass coins, really amounting to very little. A sense of great relief passed through my body. Relief that I had done exactly as the Messiah had instructed us. Exactly as the Messiah had instructed ME.
As I was leaving the temple, I noticed a small group of men, staring at me. I looked into their faces, recognizing one in particular—the Messiah, here on this particular day! Why were they staring at me? Could they tell I gave so little?
“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
How did he know? Do I look that bad? Is it written on my forehead? Poverty? Really?
But, how His words comforted me instead of offending me. He saw me. He knew me. Surely He is the Messiah. Who else could know those things?
Did He point me out to His followers as an example? Me? How could I be an example to anyone? I am without the means to care for my small children and myself. I am without the love and security of a husband. I am without the standing in the community to be anyone now. I am without. Plain and simple. Without.
But the way He talked about me, it sounded almost like a compliment. I have never looked at my situation as a compliment. Does He think His followers should be like a widow? Now there’s a new one! No one has ever said that before. Be like a widow…I just don’t know.
I rounded the corner near our place. At least it is ours for the time being. Not sure how long we will be able to keep living here. Be like a widow…
Hannah came running out first, followed by the big boys. She was full of emotion most days but to have her brothers yelling too, what was going on?
Shhh, children, you’ll wake Miriam’s new baby!
Mama, Miriam lives three streets over!
I know, that’s my point! What is all the raucous? One at a time. Okay, youngest first. Hannah?
I am only half-way listening while my mind keeps repeating, Be like a widow.
Be like a widow…
We don’t know the end of the story. We could make up a happy ending like in the movies. Or we could make up an ending like in reality. Sometimes when we give our all, we are repaid in financial blessings. But sometimes we are repaid in huge eternal blessings. We do not know how this widow lived after she gave her all in the treasury. We would love to think that maybe the religious leaders had beat her home and were there to share the treasury with HER. Maybe a long lost brother of her late husband showed up, just getting word of his brother’s death, in order to take care of the little family. Maybe they were asked to move in with her parents. Maybe the neighbor was there to offer more sewing jobs. We don’t know.
What we DO know is that Jesus pointed her out as an example. And she is included in Scripture as how we are to live.
Widows hold a special place in God’s heart. He mentions them over a hundred time in Scriptures and we are deeply loved by God. He is our security now. He alone has our heart. We may feel invisible in society but not to God.
Be encouraged today. Everyone is called to be like a widow.
The widow in our story gave money out of her poverty. Some of us may have poverty in other areas. We could be experiencing poverty in Love. Grace. Mercy. Joy. Peace. Kindness. Faith. Where do you see “poverty” in your life, other than in financial areas?