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Seeds of Hope

This week's narrative lectionary reading is from Mark 12:41-44.  Jesus and the disciples are sitting across from the offering box at the temple.  Jesus notices that many of the rich gave large contributions, but it was not their large gifts that impressed him, it was the meager 2 coins offered by a poor widow. 

It is easy to read into this scripture and think that God wants us to give everything away.  Just a few weeks ago we focused on the story of Jesus telling the young rich man to give everything away.  Then he wanted us to give coin to Caesar and still give God our tithes and offerings.  Now we see that he is only happy with the woman who gave her last two pennies away.  Indeed, God does want our everything, but not that kind of everything. 

When people, who themselves are in need, give, it inspires something in us.  In North Carolina I worked for a children's home in the mountains.  It was over 100 years old and functioned mostly off of the interest from a large endowment that had been stored up through good stewardship.  There were hundreds of stories of people giving huge sums of money every year to the ministry, but one story stood out.  When a minister decided the area needed a home for children he walked the mountains knocking on doors asking for help from everyone who lived in the area.  When a young girl heard about the need of other children she gave the minister the first donation of 13 pennies.  It was all she owned.  Those pennies still sit on the mantle of the fireplace in that great home.  Her giving out of her need has inspired many more great gifts over the years.  It was a seed that grew into something magical.   

In our church, we recently focused on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and two fish.  We learn from the gospel of John that the food was a boy's lunch that he was willing to share.  He gave from his need, and while it may have been a physical miracle,  it could have been a miracle of inspiration.  As the crowd saw this boy give from his need, they were inspired to share as well.  In a world where there is enough for everyone, sharing is a kingdom value that could change the world. 

With the fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic people are hording toilet paper, soap, and food. It will take people giving through their need to inspire people to release their strangle hold on the resources that they have hoarded in fear.  It is only when we begin sharing what seems like it is not enough that we will realize there is an abundance.  After Jesus fed the 5000 he had the disciples collect the leftovers.  There were 12 baskets full.   Have you checked on your neighbors lately?


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