This week we celebrate our oldest daughter’s seventh birthday. In the last seven years God has worked me over through the little people in my life, starting with her. After she was born, God brought another and another and still, one more little baby girl into our home. That’s four, in case you’re counting. It’s been a busy seven years! Each little person has brought with themselves a unique set of needs, only a few of which are: little faces needing to be cleaned, sticky hands needing to be washed, little hearts needing love, and many many diapers that have needed to be changed.
I remember counting how many diapers I was changing one day after our second little girl was born. Because the two were so close in age, I was changing a total of 18 diapers a day! Between feeding them and changing them, I felt like I hardly did anything else. In fact, except for a couple of times that my parents have kept our children, I have changed diapers Every.Single.Day of the last seven years of my life! That hit me this week as I’ve reminisced about these years since her birth. I almost want to cry when I write it, because a huge part of me would love to move past diapers and sippy cups and be able to leave my ginormous diaper bag at home when we venture out. But, I realize that it’s been here in these small moments that God has faithfully taught me so much. He uses my little children to show me areas of my life that need some attention. It’s here that I learn to slow down, listen more, and be patient. Some days I want to fast-forward so we can be in a physically “easier” time, but then I would miss the refinement that comes from these little years. Trust me, I can’t afford to fast-forward.
We often long to be out of the places that seem small and insignificant don’t we? Sometimes our life seems boring compared to others. Or perhaps we’re in a season of real pain and we just wish we could see survival on the other side. There is a woman in Mark 12 that understands seasons of pain like nothing most of us have ever experienced. She was a widow, which means that there may have been a love story attached to her life. She “had the dream” of a husband and a home and perhaps even children, although scripture doesn’t tell us that she had any. She would have been known as “____’s wife”, but all of this was suddenly taken away and while she didn’t ask for it, a new name was given to her: “Widow”. In Biblical times, that meant that she would have little, if any rights. Her new name placed her alongside the orphan as the poorest of the poor in society. She was a target to be exploited.(1) Jesus however, was always compassionate towards the widow and now, he is seen pointing out the small gift she gave, which had great impact.
41 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. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Have you ever had only a little to give? Perhaps it was financial, but maybe it was physical or emotional? You had a little energy and you sacrificially gave it to your children. You had a little time and instead of using it all for yourself, you visited a friend who needed some encouragement. Sometimes our little can have such great impact.
This widow gave out of her poverty-her little. It’s easy to wish you were the person giving a lot. Somehow when life is good, money is flowing and your energy is at its peak, we tend to feel like we have much to offer and it’s there that we are really just giving out of our “wealth” like the people in this passage were. But when life has been difficult, money is tight or you have very little energy and you continue to give, you are giving like this widow. It might be small, but it’s everything you’ve got and if given out of an obedient and surrendered heart, it is a most treasured gift.
Will you bless those of us with little today? Help us to sense your compassion and know your love. Please meet us in our places of poverty so that we can give to others and bring you glory. ~Amen
(1) Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Widow