the poor give

How much do you give?

It is interesting that we can notice the big contributions others make but what of the insignificant people that provide for others. The really poor people who give of the little that they have to help those in greater need than themselves. They are the amazing unsung heroes. How much do you give?

In the gospel this week we hear of the poor widow who gave all her life savings to the temple treasury, crazy? what do you think?

32 Sunday in ordinary time: First reading 1 Kings 17:10-16, Second reading Hebrews 9:24-28, Gospel Mark 12:38-44.

great people give

It seems crazy from a security perspective that a poor widow would put all her life savings in to the temple treasury. But with her knowledge that God was present in the temple, her love, her faith, allowed her to do such a crazy thing, and Jesus saw it. Her hunger for God was greater it seemed than her hunger for security, she was spiritually poor. Jesus presented the widow as an honourable person, acting honourably. He compared that act in contrast to the actions of the scribes ‘beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers.’ Mark12:38. It seems the scribes are ego poor, or public opinion poor. They see their future in the opinion of men while the widow sees her future in the opinion of God, she was poor in spirit.

But we need to consider how others would view the widow and it is quite different to how Jesus favourably sees her. You see most of us would consider her actions as foolish. To throw away her only security to an invisible force that doesn’t always come through with the goods. Hence the scribes dependence on public opinion rather than the opinion of God. But it would be strange if God would want us all to be poor since as Jesus said himself I have come to bring good news to the poor.

What I consider to be most important and I could be wrong, if so let me know. But what I consider the most important point of this gospel is the hunger we need to have for God. Spiritual hunger is different to physical hunger, we all experience hunger some more so than others. But spiritual hunger can be hidden by other things like alcohol, drugs, addictions, TV games and other things that take too much of our time and energy. When we are in touch with our hunger for God we are also satisfied. Because by knowing we need God, we then realise God must be there for us.

We have all acted out of ego-poverty and public-opinion-poverty before. It is part of our makeup to do so. Because from the earliest times of humanity, positive public opinion was important for survival. Because if a tribe thought poorly of you, then you would likely be kicked out of that tribe and loose all security that the tribe had to offer from enemy tribes. There was no personal superannuation from the beginning, it was only making sure you where in good public opinion.

Another really import point of this gospel is to be generous, and never stop being generous. The moment we stop giving to others, is the moment we become arrogant, we start to think we have everything and people should praise us. But as long a we are alive we can continue to give: our time, our support, our attention, our talents. Let us look to the poor widow as an example, she had very little to give, and she gave it all. Because she was certain it would come back again. I think heaven is a place where everyone gives, so start today, start giving.

As you journey on in your life, I promise you that in the end it won’t be what you got but what you gave. So start giving to others and you will benefit.

Corey Payton
Life Horizons Coaching

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