When has someone given you something really BIG?
I was newly engaged and had just graduated from college. My soon to be husband and I were committed to serving God full-time in the ministry. Our church had a summer program for anyone interested in overseas missions, to do a two month missions trip and serve alongside our churches missionaries. My soon to be husband, along with three other young men from our college group, signed up to go and so did I. The five of us were sent as a team to work alongside our missionaries in the country of Chile.
I was the only girl on the team so I stayed in the host homes by myself.
I was introduced to my host family, a husband, a wife and two children. They greeted me and showed me to my room at the back of their small and modest home. The room was small and plain but was clean. There was a double size bed, and a nightstand with a lamp. And to my joy a window!
I began to form a relationship with my host family. I would get up each morning and they would all already be awake and fixing breakfast. I would come out and sit at the table in the living room with them and we would eat breakfast together. Breakfast was simple but my plate was always piled sky high with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes! PAPAS PURES’ they called them! There was very little fruit and very little meat but there was always mounds and mounds of Papas Pures’. I learned much later, as I returned to the country as a missionary myself, that fruit and meat were expensive and potatoes were plentiful and much less expensive. They were doing their best to serve me what they could!
One night it was very late as we were walking back from one of our outdoor tent meetings. The wife and children had left earlier as it had gotten very late! The husband was walking home with me. I started to walk back to my bedroom when I passed the small closet, or so I thought it was, and the curtain had been pulled back since they were anticipating the arrival of their father. I glanced in as I walked toward my room, I was in shock! The room was no larger than a closet with only one twin bed pushed up against the wall in it. The mom, and both children we’re sleeping in that one tiny twin bed. I was so stunned! My selfish, self-absorbed American mind could not wrap my thoughts around what I had seen. I shut the door to my room and started to get ready for bed. As I climbed into my bed it hit me, the father must be in that same tiny bed as well. There was only one other room in the house and it held the couch and the kitchen table. There was nothing else! They had given me their bedroom! I started to cry and don’t think I slept much that night. I kept crying out to God, what can I do for them! My Spanish at that time was extremely limited. At breakfast the next morning I thanked them profusely over and over again for how wonderfulmy warm, secure and comfortable my bed was. And then I left to meet our team.
I opened up and told the story of my host house situation at our team meeting. The missionary there stated that I would offend them greatly if I were to try and offer the room back to them. So night after night through our mission trip, I slept in that big bed knowing they were all cramped down the hall in a very tiny one!
I cannot begin to tell you what the impact of their very BIG gift meant to me then and continues to mean to me now! I was shown not only the true gift of hospitality, but the gift of giving everything you have to someone else.
This family was committed to the missionaries there and to God’s church there. They truly believed that my team and I had come to share the good news of Jesus Christ! They wanted to give whatever they could to the cause of Christ Jesus! So that anyone who was able to hear could hear the message that Jesus saves!
The generous, selfless gift that this family gave me has impacted my life forever.
Out of having little, they gave much!
In Luke 21, we meet a faithful woman who gave even more than her bed!
The poor widow that we encounter in this chapter is an incredible example of faith. It is not because of what she actually gave, but because of her unselfish character and her faithful heart that gave everything she had to Jesus and His cause.
“He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “Truly I tell you, he said, “ this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
This faithful woman gave all she had! She did not hold back! She did not let the fear of not having enough or the grade of wanting more, stop her from giving everything she had.
Her giving truly reflected her faith in God!
Jesus reminded others who were standing around, that others gave “out of their surplus,“ but that her two small coins were significant to God!
In her day and age those two small coins would have more than likely been the money that she would have used to buy bread. Her daily sustenance! It is what was keeping her alive.
She was a living example of Luke 11:3,
“Give us each day our daily bread.“
We are not told this woman’s name. We are only told that she was a poor widow. Widows in this culture were often marginalized by society and unprotected. Even some of the religious leaders would have shunned her or paid her no notice.
But not Jesus, Jesus always sees!
She was known to Jesus and He showed her that He saw her when He commended her and wanted others to notice her generosity as well!
We can learn by this faithful woman’s example that giving to kingdom causes demonstrates a consistent act of our faith and trust in God!
OUR GIVING IS A REFLECTION OF OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN CHRIST JESUS!
Can those in my life and around me see my faith and trust in Jesus reflected in my giving?
I know I can get better at this! I want to be a faithful example in my giving just like the poor widow was.
She is a true wheelbarrow rider who was willing to jump into the wheelbarrow of giving, even if it cost her, her last meal.
Speak Truth Love