Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
What does it mean to be poor, or for that matter to be rich? In Israel 2,000 years ago a widow was often at the bottom of the pile, especially if she had no children or family to care for her. Leviticus 23.22 instructs farmers "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor." God constantly has the poor upon His mind, and in today's incident in the Temple Jesus notes that the widow puts in all that she has - two small copper coins. Others were throwing money into the different containers - for wood for the sacrifices, for incense, or for the general upkeep of the Temple. Out of their largesse they could give more. But it is the widow who makes such a sacrifice because of her thankfulness to God, that is commended by Jesus.
A millionaire might give thousands to charity, and not notice it. The woman gives all to God out of her poverty. This story highlights two things: the sacrifice that is involved in the gift, and the attitude of the giver. God wants us to give generously and ungrudgingly out of all that He has given us and for no reason other than our grateful thanks to Him.
Oh and the question about poverty and wealth? To a man or woman in the Yemen who sees their cattle and crops die for lack of water, no doubt even the poorest in the western world seems rich in comparison.
You give to us so generously:-
our beautiful world;
the resources to live a productive life;
the talents to work with others;
and the ability to care for those less fortunate.
Yet, all too often we turn our back on You,
and care only for ourselves.
Help us to see the bigger picture
and give to others as you give to us.
Today, I would like to invite you all to take part in a Reverse Advent Calendar for your local Food Bank. See my email to you all on 17th November 2022 below:
Today I have been working on my Thoughts for next Monday (21st November), and will be suggesting that as many of us as possible do a Reverse Advent Calendar for our local Food Bank. However, since they will need what we offer the week before Christmas this needs to start in November - hence this email.
What is a Reverse Advent Calendar? In a normal Advent Calendar we take something out or open a door on the calendar. In a reverse one we put something in - for the foodbank! My family will be giving up a present and using the money to put an item of food or toiletries into a box from 25th November- Sunday 18th December (24 days), and taking it to the foodbank on Monday 19th December.
1. Many people are desperate at this time trying to balance the needs of heat and food.
2. Some of you will not be able to afford to do this - but could perhaps advertise a local Reverse Advent Calendar, and pray for it's success.
3. What about designing a local Reverse Calendar with the dates say 20th November to Sunday 18th December, or whatever dates are decided. There are plenty of pictures on line of Reverse Advent Calendars, but making your own for a local foodbank might be fun.
I attach some info and a downloadable poster here. https://jollyfestive.com/give-back-with-a-reverse-advent-calendar-for-your-food-bank/
Feel free to send this email to anyone else to encourage them to take part.
Rev Sharon Swain
PS If you're already doing this, thank you!