Hello My Name Is… (Week 3) – Poor Widow
This week I thought I was going to challenged on generosity, on my attitude towards money, and in a way I have been. But the challenge of our verse this week runs much deeper than that. This week, we stepped into the shoes of the Poor Widow that Jesus saw one day and used to teach his disciples (and us) something very important:
“He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3″Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” Luke 21:2-4
INCLUDED BUT NOT NAMED
Every week I am asking us the same question – why was this woman worth including but not important enough to be named? I thought this week it was purely practical that she wasn’t named. Jesus and the disciples are sat around chatting and observing. This scene plays off in the distance with people putting money in an offering bucket. So it is far away, you would see the woman but not want to go up to ask her name. Simple! But then a mummy meditator reminded me that Jesus WOULD have known her name, in the way that he is God and knows every single hair on our heads. He knew the detail that she was a poor widow (was it obvious from afar or did he just know because he was God?) so he probably would have known her name too. But in that moment, the name was not important. It was the act, the story, the symbolism that was powerful.
ONE POWERFUL SERMON ILLUSTRATION
We all love a sermon illustration don’t we! There is something about having a tangible example of something in practice that makes concepts easier to understand. Its like it makes sense when we watch it played out through someone else. All of us can remember a powerful illustration, and this one is no different. The contrast between the others putting coins in and the poor widow is stark and shocking. It is easily missed amongst the hustle and bustle of the temple, but Jesus draws us in to this scene. Without even having to ask us, we willingly step into her shoes and experience the weight of her poverty and how big a deal it is to put those two coins in. To be powerful an illustration doesn’t have to be flashy, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Actually the most simple illustrations are often the most powerful.
SO WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
One thing I’ve learnt is that this is about way more than money. This is about how much we’re willing to give to God and how reliant we are on him to provide what we need. Are we willing to trust him with our finances, with our time, with our home, with our community, with our children even? In some ways, this widow had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and as mum’s this was a huge challenge to us. We always have to consider others in our decision making, because we have been entrusted with little lives to look after. So giving away our last coins would impact them also. But trusting God would impact them too.
As hard as it might be to be fully reliant on God, we recognised that to do that would be exciting, scary, incredible, liberating and nerve-wracking. So many of us gave examples where we have tried to do this, or seen others step out to do so, within jobs, finances, church. So my challenge to all of us today is, what can we hand fully over to God this week? And lets see what He does with it and how he provides.
We are moving on to look at Samson’s Mother now for a few weeks. I am sure many of us have heard of Samson, if not familiar with his story of strength. But what about his mother?? Why is she included but not named? We will be starting off with this verse:
“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5
Don’t forget to set an alarm or reminder in your phone for 8:55pm Monday night, so you can come join me over on the Facebook group ready for a live discussion about this! Bring your sunday school story knowledge and lets do a brain dump!