Friday, November 6, 2009

Devotional 11-6-09

Radical Faith

Please read Mark 12:38-44

The second half of the Gospel reading from the lectionary this week is probably familiar to many of us. Jesus is sitting in the temple, watching as people place money in the treasury. A widow comes and deposits two copper coins, equal to about one penny. Jesus tells his disciples that she gave everything she had – “all she had to live on.” He contrasts that to the many people who had contributed out of their abundance.

What is it that the widow contributed? She gave a very small amount of money in the “grand scheme” of contributions given to the temple. For her, it probably represented all of her money. For her, it was not a “small” contribution.

But that’s not all she gave. She gave EVERYTHING. When she offered the two copper coins, she was offering them to God in faith. I imagine that she believed what she was doing for God was going to make a difference – what she was giving to God had POWER. Can you imagine that? Could you place yourself in her shoes and actually believe that giving a penny to God would make any kind of difference at all? That’s radical faith.

What difference DID it make? The gift of her faith brought her closer to God – it brought her the joy of living in relationship with her creator. When we step out in faith – when we take any kind of action that is in response to a call from God – we are brought closer to Him. I imagine it made a huge difference in her life, and I know it can make a huge difference in our own lives. Joy comes with radical faith in God.

Did the penny make any difference? When we step out in faith, and move to the calling of God, it’s not a stretch to believe that God gives our actions power. She might never have known how lives were changed through her penny; we may never know the consequences of our actions done in obedience to God, but we can believe that God knows, and that what he calls us to do in His name makes a difference to someone else.

Do you think the widow could have imagined that we would be learning from her actions, even today, over 2000 years later? Could she have dreamed that her donation of a penny – everything she had – would inspire you and me to faithful generosity?

What difference does it make? It makes all the difference in the world!

Kim Matthews

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