We have several idioms to talk about our poverty or lack of resources. If we are “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” we are down to the dregs, the last of our resources. We say we are “down and out.” We have come on “hard times.” Perhaps we have a “cash flow problem.” We can’t make ends meet. Some of us remember those days in our youth, or the Great Depression, or a time of war. We rejoice we are having better times now. Jesus is in Jerusalem and at the Temple. It is the last week of his life. He has no home but is staying with friends on the edge of town. He knows his popularity is about to change to mob. All the spiritual capital he has built up with miracles, with healings, with good sermons is about to disappear like a giant spiritual stock market crash. Yesterday we saw the tensions rise as he overthrew sellers in the Temple courts. Religious leaders are plotting his death. What happens next is significant1
Jesus draws the attention of his disciples to a poor widow who is putting “two very small copper coins” in the offering box. She gave her all to God and was ready to live with the consequences life would bring her. This is not tithing. This is total commitment. Jesus would be called upon to place his life on the line soon and perhaps he drew strength from her example. The disciples were not about to “take a victory lap” but were headed to a faith that would require they give their all. The disciples didn’t get it and we usually don’t get it either.
Could Jesus be saying, life does not come from the stuff we have that allows us to share a portion with friends. Life comes from committed relationships that hold during hard times and during good times. It is when we know someone has our back and is not a fair weather friend that we truly know love. This unnamed widow has become synonymous with commitment, sharing her all in her poverty. As we walk through Holy Week, we are again called upon to examine our hearts and reflect on our commitment to God, even during hard times, times of pandemic, times of war, times of financial insecurity. Perhaps today we can name one area where we feel totally inadequate and unable to face the challenge. Name it but also name the many ways that God has blessed you and name people who have been there when you needed help. Thank God. Blessings as you pray.