You can listen to this week’s Devotional here
Author: Nancy Wade
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21: 1-4
This parable of the widow’s mite has always resonated with me. I remember hearing it in sermons from a very young age and understanding the message it conveyed. And I have seen this parable play out throughout my lifetime as I noticed examples of unselfish giving.
I noticed a meme on Facebook recently. It featured the photo shown above – a small cat holding a leaf in its mouth – with the following caption:
She was constantly staying near the fish market and watching people come to buy fish. She took a leaf that fell from a tree and came to the owner. On the first day, surprised, he took her “money” and gave her a fish. From that day on, every morning she comes to the fish market with a leaf to “buy” a fish.
Granted, the poor woman in the parable gives all that she has expecting nothing in return. But the hungry cat does what it has to do in order to pay for her daily fish. In my mind, the cat gets points for observation and for creativity.
From the time my grandsons were very young, they figured out that if they wanted new Hot Wheels toy cars and trucks, all they had to do was ask me to take them to Target or Walmart to buy them. I was, and still am, a soft touch when it comes to buying inexpensive toys for these boys. But as they have grown older – they are now 13 and 10 – their wants and desires have outstripped my budget and I finally had to tell them that I would be happy to provide them with transportation but that they had to spend their own money to buy remote control cars or expensive video games.
Recently, my oldest grandson offered to help us sell some belongings that we were no longer using. He wondered if we might be willing to pay him a 10% commission on any items he could sell. Impressed by his sense of entrepreneurship and his display of initiative, I agreed to his plan.
In our discussions, Brookes admitted to me that he had spent nearly all of his savings when I took him to the RC car store a few months earlier. He told me how much he wanted a used go-cart that he had found online. The go-cart cost $350 and he was starting out with only $15 to his name. It looked to me as if it would take the sale of many lightly used items posted on Marketplace for him to earn the money he needed.
“I’m so mad at myself for buying that RC car,” he told me. “It cost $150 and I already had two RC cars. I don’t know why I thought I needed another one.” His regret and dismay were evident as he spoke.
I have learned that witnessing choices my grandsons make can be nearly as painful now as witnessing my own kids’ decisions 30 years ago. But I take comfort in the fact that making relatively safe choices now under our supervision will hopefully lead to more informed choices in the days, months, and years ahead.
Do the widow, the cat, and my grandson have anything in common? Perhaps they do. They all recognize the value and power of money in the transactional world that we live in. Of course, the widow was the most unselfish giver and if I have any prayer on my heart today, it is that my grandsons will grow into men who learn that it is often a virtuous thing to give all that you have without expecting anything in return.