All That She Had

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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.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41–44

The widow herself appears in the final section of this passage and is presented as the example of total self-giving. In contrast to those who look for recognition and have their reward in the adulation and praise of men, this widow gives all almost secretly. We are shown that the humble poor can make worthy offerings.  L.O. Richards makes this observation, “Jesus contrasts the greed of the wealthy, who give amounts that are meaningless to them, with the generosity of a widow who gives all she has.   God puts people first and values even the poor.”

In almost 50 years of ministry I have met a lot of generous people.   I’m reminded of Dennis and Frank, a couple of minister friends of mine who are very giving people.  Their ministries are defined by generosity.  I know they have blessed me and many others well.  Robert and Ann, college friends from long ago are giving people as well.  They are giving their resources and lives to the children on that mountain side in El Salvador.  My, what an example of giving they are!   I think also of a few couples that are a part of the Oak Hills Church in Edmond where I was pastor for 11 years.   Jaime and Cheryl, Tim and Kim, Eric and Jennifer as well as Gary and Gayla are all very generous and giving people.   They have been a blessing to the church and to me as well.  They live out the Bible concept that we are “Blessed to be a Blessing”.  They all have learned the lesson o share God’s blessings with others.

But a lady named Gloria is the person that comes to mind when I think of the “Widow’s Mite” in Mark 12.  A widow herself, in mid-life, lost her job at the Whirlpool Factory where she was employed due to it closing down.  So she moved to Edmond from Ft. Smith to retrain for another job at Francis Tuttle Technology Center.  To make ends meet she worked two jobs, office work during the day and grocery store clerk in the evenings.   She still found time to attend church faithfully.  Also on her own time and with her own resources, began feeding the homeless in downtown Oklahoma City.  She purchased and prepared the food, took the food along with tables and chairs to Bicentennial Park located adjacent to City Hall just across from the Civic Center Music Hall. She did this all by herself and without the need for attention!  She gathered up used coats, gloves and blankets to be distributed as needed.  Eventually her generosity inspired a dozen or so members at Oak Hills and they began to help her with this ministry.   This ministry continued summer and winter until the city stopped her because of city ordinances.

Eventually Gloria moved back to the Ft. Smith area.  She has faced some serious health issues recently but continues to be a blessing to those she meets.  As far as I am concerned, Gloria is a living illustration of the widow in Mark 12.  I can say with confidence that just as the generosity of the widow in Mark 12 caught the attention of Jesus, so does the generosity of Gloria as well.  She is a living example of these verses:

“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”   2 Corinthians 9:8

“Remember that our Lord Jesus said, “More blessings come from giving than from receiving.”  Acts 20:35

So my friend, let Gloria be an encouragement to you.  Find a place to serve people and SHARE GOD’S BLESSING WITH OTHERS!  Heed the words of Paul, “Be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17   You are Blessed To Be A Blessing!

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