Tonight part of my family read Mark chapter 12 together, and the story of the widow’s mite at the end really came alive in my mind as I thought of the impoverished woman who humbly cast in her tiny donation that proved to be more, in the Lord’s eyes, than the many heavy coins of the wealthy. From a pragmatic point of view, perhaps her donation made no real difference, making it essentially wasted money that could have been better spent buying the staples of life. But her attitude of faithful, humble sacrifice was what made her efforts so important to the Lord. It was a precious and worthy offering that did not go unnoticed by Him.
We have many poor among us still who show this same remarkable faith. Can the same principle apply to those who suffer from other forms of poverty such as poverty of time rather than lack of wealth? I know of men and women who have enough money, but have so many demands on their time from family, work, and other commitments, that it can sometimes be an act of great faith to give up the time required to attend Church or to go home teaching or visiting teaching. For example, some of the young mothers I have known come to mind, especially single mothers, but there are many other men and women in their own trying circumstances. They may feel frustrated at all the demands they face and feel bad for not serving more actively in the Church, but they may be like the widow giving up as much time as they could possibly scrape together, though it may be only a few minutes here and there compared to the hours that some have available.
“This poor widow has cast more in than all they . . .for all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
There are many in the Church and in other religions who humbly give all they can of their available time and energy to serve the Lord and to love their neighbors. The hours they have for formal church service and callings may be few, but let us ponder that the magnitude of their offering may be great in the eyes of the Lord.
On the other hand, there are those of us – myself included – who make serious mistakes in time management and become chronologically challenged through our own lack of wisdom and discipline. We may overcommit or take on too many unnecessary projects or foolishly strive to accomplish demanding goals beyond what is wise or just waste their time in a thousand selfish ways, just as so many people become poor through foolish pending and unnecessary debt. I guess we need to make sure that we do not actively rob the Lord of the time that we should make available for Him. The attitude behind the story of the widow’s mite is one of not just giving whatever scraps we have left, but of having the faith, discipline, and self-sacrifice to humbly give the Lord a large portion of what we have, be it little or much.