Lenten Devotional // Day 23

Monday, March 28
EXTRAVAGANCE by Marilee Medley

Luke 21:1-4
Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny. He said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than them all. All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had to live on.”

What would make this woman give everything she had? A tenth of a coin, sure. Maybe one of her two coins. But both coins, knowing that her pockets would be empty? That seems excessive. Maybe irresponsible. Maybe a little crazy.

The Bible doesn’t tell us why, but here’s one idea. The life of a poor widow was grueling and hopeless. I wonder if in the midst of the everyday battle to survive, her heart longed for something bigger. To see something wonderful and inexplicable. To break out of the grueling grind of the everyday and be amazed by a breathtaking, awe-inspiring God. I wonder if she put those two coins in the basket to see what God would do with them. And by extension, to see God.

And here’s my hope: we know Who was in the audience that day. As she made her gift and turned around to return to her seat, I hope she came face to face with the One who is Wonder, who is Awe, who is the very God she sought. And I hope she knew full well Who she was seeing.

Question for Contemplation
Why do I give? What am I looking for?

O Father, you have shown us time and again that you use our gifts in mighty ways, allowing us to be part of Your kingdom work in ways we could never imagine. Please give us open hearts and hands and pockets, to give with joyful expectation of what You’ll do.

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