I've always loved the story in Mark of the widow's offering. As Jesus sits and watches the offerings being given he sees many rich folk giving lots and then along comes a widow and drops two coins into the offering. Mark 12:41-44 has the full story:

"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.""

Recently we've seen just such an offering and I've been blown away by it. I'm not going to name names but anyone local who has heard me tell this story will probably be able to work out who I'm talking about and so I must apologise if I cause any embarrassment or rob anyone of any treasures in heaven.

We know a lady who has nothing. When I say nothing I mean nothing. No means of putting food on the table for her and her children, no husband to help, no regular income and no social welfare to help ease the burden. The house is bare!

One evening recently as she was praying with her children for some food she decided that they should go to bed and sleep their hunger off as there was no sign of any food coming from anywhere. A short while later the youngest child told his mummy "We need to keep praying" so they prayed some more. Within a little while there was a knock at the door and a neighbour had brought three fish and a loaf of bread for them to eat.

Now what happened next is truly remarkable!

Had the family simply sat down to eat and then gone to bed with full tummies no-one would have thought any the worst of them. After all they had prayed that our God would provide for their needs and he did just that. Hallelujah! But the mother took half of the food they had just received and gave it to her neighbour next door. That in itself is amazing. However, the neighbour is a bit of a nightmare, making the family's life a real pain at times. Most recently she has been mocking the family asking things like "What has your God ever done for you?". So when the mum took the food around she simply told her neighbour "This is what my God has done for me.", blessed her with the food and went back into her own home.

Two things come out of this for me. Firstly, to have folk like this in church makes me very excited because God has seen her heart and knows it is pure. A heart like this can be built with and God will honour her. Secondly, I've been left wondering quite simply, would I have done the same as this family or would I have been satisfied to go to bed with a full tummy for a change?


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