You know the story of the widow’s mite? How Jesus said this widow throwing her last two pennies into the collection box was more faithful than those putting in large amounts from their wealth? I always read the story and assumed that the widow was giving her last two pennies out of reverence. But lately, I’ve realized that I’ve been that woman throwing her last coins into the Salvation Army bucket. And it wasn’t often done out of reverence. When I was younger, I might put my penny in so I wouldn’t feel bad about walking past the bucket without putting anything in. Sometimes I did put my last coins in as a way of saying, “I know it’s not much, but it’s what I’ve got. I’ll just trust you to provide the increase.” A few times though, I put my last coins in as an act of protest and complaint; “You want everything? Fine take my last pennies. I do my best, I trust in you and I get left with nothing but a couple of pennies.”
Research has found that poorer people give more of their money away than others. A lot of that is because the amounts given as often so small that you weren’t going to do much with the money anyways. It occured to me that maybe the widow wasn’t so sanguine about her life and her struggles either. Two copper coins wasn’t worth much. It would barely have bought food for one meal. And then what? Maybe that widow too had been walking this path for too long. Maybe she was more broken than obedient and was throwing those copper pieces as a form of defiance and challenge to God? Maybe that was exactly what Jesus saw her doing when he praised her action. I know that if at one of those moments, God had praised those pennies I threw at him, it would have meant everything to me.
Maybe Jesus knew she was discouraged and angry when she put those coins in. But at least she was throwing them in the right direction. Even if it was done as a compaint, at least it showed that she believed strongly enough in God’s power to be upset at its seeming absence in her life. What if it was a challenge to God to show himself. To remind the world of what He was capable of. And Jesus was there to see it.
So often we think God needs to be handled with kid’s gloves. That we cann0t challenge, protest or complain because God doesn’t need our input. But what if that’s not the way God sees it? What if he’s just waiting for us to throw our pennies at him. To say that we’ve had enough. We’re ready for him. The time to move has come. What if God’s just waiting for us to be fed up enough with the mess we’ve made to invite him in. Maybe we need to reach that point in order to be willing to let Him move the way He has planned instead of demanding it be done the way we would prefer.
*It’s a repeat from December 2011. Hopefully I’ll get something new out soon.