Thursday, October 8, 2009

What moms can give

I have occasionally been troubled by Jesus' words about the "widow's mite". Here's the story, so you know what I'm talking about:

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)

Now, those of you who know me also likely know I am notoriously penny-pinching to the point of being ridiculous, and much of it is driven by my theology: I don't think that being wasteful is wise or loving. I think that dollars are important because they're used for kingdom stuff (by the way, I think that includes things like feeding my kids!). And I also believe that wealth can be as toxic as it can be good.

So God's been working on me these last few years on simply being GENEROUS. Being filled with faith, that is, rather than fear and selfishness or even my own occasionally idolatrous competitions with myself about money I'm saving--idolatrous, that is, in that money can become more important to me than loving people well--getting them good gifts, for example, or not using (gulp) expired food, or spending time looking for a deal that I could be spending on something more eternal.

Mind you, I am still a frugality nut. But God continues to teach me that this need to conserve runs deeply in my personality, and though it is good, can be a serious weakness. The Word talks about what sacrificial giving looks like pretty extensively. And God's teaching me that not only with my money, but also with my time, my energy, and other resources He gives--very richly, I might add--I can still sow generously.

But I digress! The other night, I was pooped beyond pooped. But my husband had been struggling with something, and when I saw him, I knew what would be emotionally and physically healing for him: A massage, however amateurish mine might be. Grant it, I tend to overextend myself. But in this moment, I believe the Holy Spirit brought the story of the widow's mite to mind, which I'd been reading to my kids the night before in a bedtime story. The message I got: I can give my mite, too.

When I am completely, utterly out of resources as a mom...which is a lot...God, I believe, sees the mites that I give. And in that, I can love Him lavishly. I can love other people lavishly.

P.S. I was right about the massage.

1 comment:

anna w said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration, Janel! It's so easy to feel selfish and me centered when I'm tired, but I am inspired to go the extra mile next time.