The Widow’s Trust

When we hear the story of the Widow’s Mite, (cf., LK 21:1-4), we are called to reflect on stewardship and our “management” of what has been given to us by God. In the story, we are told of many Temple visitors putting large donations in the collection jars. Jesus calls his disciples to himself, however, and points out a particular widow who dropped only two small coins in the jar. Jesus then contrasts her giving to that of those who had preceded her: “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (NAB, LK 21:3-4) While others had given from their excess, their desires, or even their wants, this widow gave from her need, in fact, as Jesus notes, “her whole livelihood.”

While her generosity is worthy or praise, there is another aspect of her faith in God that deserves note. Because she has given all that she has, she must now be totally dependent upon God to meet her needs. Widows had no sources of income and essentially relied upon the generosity of others or their adult children, if they had any. By giving up her entire livelihood, this woman exhibits heroic courage, faith, and trust in God to provide for her every need. From where will her next meal come? How will she pay her bills? If she has young children, how will she feed and care for them? She trusts in God, the God who loves her and the God who provides. Let us learn not only from the Widow’s Mite, but especially from the Widow’s Trust.

Lord, give me a generous heart, that I may share my talents, energy, and resources with others, and let me do so without holding back. Give me the faith, courage, and trust I need to see you as the God who will always provide what I need. Let my trust not be in the people, provisions, and powers of this world, but in you and you, alone. Amen.

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Steward of My Life

We live in an age that is overflowing with material goods and wealth. Compared to generations past, we have the greatest technology, health care, information, food, life expectancy, and quality of life based on so many different factors. Everything we have in our world, and even our very lives, however, are not because of us, but are for us. We didn’t give birth to ourselves and our world; we received them as an inheritance from those who preceded us and from God.

“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be.” (NAB, RV 4:11) What will we do with the wonderful gifts we’ve received? What will the next generation receive from us? How will we utilize our God-given talents and gifts to make the world a better place and to bring about God’s Kingdom?

Stewardship far too often focuses on finances and how we manage the money in our lives, particularly related to tithing and charitable donations. But stewardship is about managing ALL that we possess, all that has been given us, most especially our talents and gifts. We are responsible for investing the necessary time, energy, and commitment to develop our skills and talents for the betterment of others and the common good in our community and society. We are the only ones who are held accountable for this responsibility. Our gifts are meant to be shared, and this is precisely how they are multiplied through our love and the love of others. Jesus reminds us that, “to everyone that has, more will be given.” (LK 19:26)

Lord, help me to recognize my gifts and talents, and give me the courage and determination to develop them and use them for love of my neighbor and for the common good. Make me a worthy steward of everything good in my life. May I never take credit for what you have given me, but may I always seek to glorify you in all that I do. Amen.

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Sacrificial Giving

Jesus tells us today in Mark’s Gospel of the widow who gave two copper coins to the Temple treasury. Jesus says that she gave more than everyone else because “they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” (NAB, MK 12:44) The widow demonstrates sacrificial love by giving, not from her desires or wants, but from her needs. Furthermore, in contrast to the scribes who seek honor, prestige, and recognition for their generosity, the widow remains nameless and marginalized.

How are we as stewards? God blesses us with so much, including our finances, but also our time, energy, and talent. When we give of these, do we offer them in order to receive praise and honor? Is our charity about recognition and self-promotion, or is it about sacrificial love for a greater good? Let’s take time and examine our motivations, asking God to remove all pride and self-will, greed, and desires for excess from all we do.

Heavenly Father, all that is good comes from you, for you alone are good. Transform our lives in humility and sacrifice, so that we may serve you in love, and by loving our neighbor according to your will and for your glory. Amen.

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