For they have all contribute from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood. Mark 13:4
I have always loved this Gospel because it demonstrates true humility and complete trust in such a beautiful way. I also have to admit that it was a Gospel that also made me very angry and hurt during a difficult time for our family. I left the work world for 12 years to enjoy the blessing of staying home with our kids and when I returned to the work force it was to teach in a Catholic School. There have been times when jealousy pinched me a little as I watched others buy cottages, take exciting vacations and contribute easily to their children’s college education. Thankfully those moments were short lived because I knew that God had a plan for us and those things just weren’t a part of it. We were committed to providing a Catholic education to our children and supporting our Parish financially so there were many times we felt like the widow who had given all she had. Honestly, it’s a great feeling to know that God will meet all our needs because we’ve done all we could to meet his with our finances. We were at peace.
Then came the day when we bought a used car for our kids to drive and the police showed up to take it from us because the man we bought it from had stolen it from an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. He went to court and was ordered to pay us back but the likelihood of that was grim; he had no job, no stability, no family...he was a broken man. We were hurt and angry and out nearly ten thousand dollars. When I prayed for the strength to forgive, show mercy and move on I asked God for a verse and guess where I landed...this Gospel. “Really God”, I screamed, “We’ve given it all, we’ve scraped, and sacrificed and been content without fancy stuff and you point me to this verse as if we haven’t given enough!” It took several days of forcing myself to read and re-read this Gospel but one day I realized that we hadn’t. We hadn’t offered up every last coin of bitterness and resentment toward this man. We hadn’t offered every last coin of thanksgiving that we had been blessed with faith and love and witness that allowed us to provide a very different life for our children than this man’s parents had given him. We hadn’t offered up every last coin of independence. We hadn’t admitted that God is rich and completely trusted that he would continue to meet all of our needs. He really did want it all and when we joyfully presented it all to him, like the widow, we were rich. God’s mercy and peace are amazing. The more we let go of that last coin the more we saw God blessing us and caring for us. What started as a giant bummer turned into a giant lesson in trust and mercy!
A Seed To Plant: What are you hanging on to? What are the coins of great price that prevent you from offering your entire livelihood to God in love and trust?
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