Have you ever received a gift that wasn’t necessarily great because of the price tag, but because of the meaning behind it? When my husband and I went on our first date, I happened to be in the same town as him for the weekend celebrating my 23rd birthday with friends. Before catching up with my friends for dinner, my husband had asked me to go out for a drink and appetizers. I remember being so nervous and then I saw him round the corner with a gift bag, and I thought “what in the world is this guy doing?”
When we sat down at the table, he was so excited to have me open this gift. I opened the card and it read, “I know this is only our first date, but I couldn’t not give you something for your birthday.” He had filled the bag with some of my favorite things that I had told him about in the weeks leading up to our date. It was one of the best gifts I have ever received because it was incredibly thoughtful and intentional.
The reading today reminded me of this gift. Jesus is calling his disciples’ attention to the poor widow, as she sacrificed her earnings in order to give them to the church treasury. She had to watch many others go before her and drop double or even triple into the treasury while she only had two small coins. It had to be a humbling experience, but still, she made a point to “offer her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21:4)
A true gift comes from the heart, the amount is not as important as the meaning and intention behind it. I can imagine Jesus’ heart as he saw what this widow had just sacrificed in order to please his Father. His heart must have swelled with love and pride- for his daughter had learned the true meaning of trusting Him to provide. God can do His best work in us when we fully give ourselves to Him.
As we enter into the holiday season, let us not forget to offer our time, talent and treasure to the one who patiently waits for us. “The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.” -St. Nicholas of Myra