January 3 – Mighty Mites

 

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One of my dearest friends in the whole world and his precious wife have found themselves in a tremendous battle. To some, their situation looks pretty tough. But I tell you, there’s nothing like hard times to bring to light those who truly love you and stand with you.

My buddy’s the sort of guy that served his country, paid his dues, and wouldn’t ask anybody for a single penny. He believes in hard work and helping others. So, when he found himself swimming upstream and holding on to his wife’s hand for dear life, it was all he could do to keep his head above water.

Well, out of the blue, people from where he works started strategizing on how they could get involved and help remove some of the financial burden. They started collecting change in mason jars! Now, I am told that a pint-sized mason jar might hold $30 or more of random change. That doesn’t seem like a lot when you are talking about serious medical bills.

But it is an extravagant amount when you consider why people would give. My own children, when hearing about the jars, filled their own share. All because they, like everyone else involved, wanted to let my friend and his wife know they were not in this fight alone.

After the fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about the power of the widow’s mite in Mark 12. Often, I viewed this passage as a plus for the “have not’s” and a minus for the “haves.”  But that all changed for me. No, I began to see that Jesus was showing the disciples the power of “from the heart” giving.

The widow didn’t have a lot of surplus when it came to money.  But her heart said, “It’s the least I can do to give what I have to the Master for His service.” And it is that spirit, I am convinced, that I have witnessed in these precious souls pouring out their change for my buddy. So, today, may you and I be most encouraged. Whether our giving is big or small, when it comes from the heart, it is extravagant in the eyes of God.  

Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins-a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave  what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford-she gave her all.” Mark 12:41-44 (MSG)

Biblical Meditation: Mark 12      

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March 24 – Don’t Wait for Washington

“Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!” Proverbs 31:8-9 MSG

I will share a couple of incidents, but no names. The pain is too real and the problem is far too prevalent.

He and his little sister had free and reduced lunches at school. But on the weekend, food was scarce around the house. One Saturday afternoon, he decided to take a loaf of bread and package of wieners from the local grocery store.  Too young to be inconspicuous, a veteran cashier caught him sneaking out the front door and alerted her boss. When they got him back in the store, it became apparent he was “one of those kids.”  He was banned from the store and labeled a troublemaker…and he and his sister went another day with empty tummies. . . .

Her daddy took a job in a new town. She left her old friends and was hopeful that she’d make some new ones at her new school.  The town was small and everybody had pretty much grown up together. The first day she arrived, not one girl seemed to notice. She made every effort to get acquainted, but all her advances were met with resistance.  Two years later, she graduated and as far as she knows, no one at the new school remembers her name. That was twenty years ago and the memory still stings.

There are people all around us that need someone to care enough to look beyond their immediate existence and reach out on behalf of another. I was one of those people at one time in my life and fortunately, there was “somebody” who cared.

But it is far too common to hear things like “let Washington pay for it. That’s why we pay taxes, anyway!” What a shame.

God expects more out of His children. We are our brother and sister’s keeper. When they hurt, we hurt. And if they hunger, we too are malnourished as a culture.

To ignore it doesn’t make it go away. Love says “reach out and touch somebody’s hand, and make this world a better place…cause you can!”

So. Don’t wait for Washington.