Teaching in the temple, Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." Mark 12:38-44
When I was a child we had a corner store that sold penny candy. We would spend summer days scrounging around the beach, looking for bottles to return. Tourists would often leave them behind and we had a few favorite places that almost always rewarded us. We would gathering up a few, and with our small amount of change have a great feast. You could buy gumballs for a penny, as well as red or black licorice, wax nip bottles and the like. We would gorge ourselves and then climb on bikes to begin the search again. On very little we were fed and with very little we felt like kings.
Jesus watches the treasury as folks are making their donations. The rich put in hefty sums, sums which hopefully will help them reduce their tax burden. Giving to a church is a noble thing, they believe, and they give what is easy and what doesn't hurt. The poor widow gives her all and she is the model for how we should be. She gives, trusting that God will supply her needs. She gives from her grateful heart despite the circumstances she finds herself in. We are invited to be all in, like the widow, so that God can demonstrate abundance and promise through us.
Today, as we celebrate Veterans Day, I am reminded of so many who have given their all for their country. I think of my uncle Sy WalkingStick who never came home and my Dad was who proud to offer his time and life to serve as a Navy Chaplain. We remember all those who have given their all, put their all in, and in their memory and honor, we ask God to help us follow their example and give our all for the love of God's people and for our world. May we offer what little we have so that God can grow great love and bounty in our time.
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.