Friday, June 8, 2007

Two Small Coins, and a Whole Lot of Faith


In today's Gospel reading, Mark 12:38-44, we find the story of the poor widow woman giving two small coins (leptons or Widow's Mites), her "whole livelihood".

38 In the course of his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces,

39 seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.

40 They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

41 He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.

42 A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.

44 For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”


In the temple, in the Court of Women, there were 13 trumpet-shaped "boxes" used to collect the charitable giving from the Jews in town for the Passover. Even though these were in the Court of Women, women and men were allowed. It is here that Jesus and His disciples watched as the poor woman gave everything she had.


The coins that the women placed in the box were Jewish coins called lepton. A lepton was the coin of the least value and worth only about 1/64 of a normal days wage. Obviously, this was a poor woman indeed.


How easy it would have been for the woman to not give anything. Would it not be understandable for a widow, who really had no way to support herself in those days remember, to use what little she had to live off? And even if she wanted to give something, how easy it would have been to give one coin to God, and keep one coin for herself. That surely would have been generous beyond expectation.


But Jesus uses this situation to teach His disciples (us included) a lesson as relevant then as it is today: God wants us to give freely to Him ALL of our lives!


He doesn't want to be part of our lives, He wants our lives to be part of His. Committed to serving and loving him and others in every area of our lives. To avoid compartmentalizing our faith, allotting God a part of ourselves, but not the whole. To give our lives and all we have to Him in complete faith.


But what can God do with my seemingly small and unimportant life? Wait until this Sunday to find out what He did with five loaves, two fish, and a whole lot of hungry people...

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Leptons? Like quarks and leptons?

Neat. Had no idea.