I was in Home Goods looking for a roasting pan for my 20-pound turkey. Since I hate to shop, I am very focused on getting what’s on my list and out of the store as quickly as possible. Surprisingly for the week before Thanksgiving, it wasn’t very busy in the store. Not long after I started my hunt, the Christmas music was interrupted by, “Thank you to the angel at register 4 for her very generous donation of $5. We have the best friends who are going to make a real difference for Kiley at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.” Well, I thought, it is the season for giving. I guess everyone is getting in on the action and I went back to hunting for a roasting pan.
[Jesus] looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” ~ Luke 21:1-4
While the religious elite were keeping tabs on who was giving what, Jesus’ ears perked up to the tink, tink of the two pennies the little old lady dropped into the donation box. The cockles of Jesus’ heart was warmed by the sacrifice of love and her hope that her tiny gift would make a difference to someone with greater need.
Sacrifice isn’t something we like to talk about even if we’ve been sacrificing because of tough economic times. Many of us have already been counting our pennies for things like food and heat and fuel. We’d love to be able to be generous again, able to donate to our favorite charities who are facing tougher challenges because of the struggling economy and so many un-or underemployed. And when we do give, it feels like our small pittance isn’t going to make any difference whatsoever.
Times are tough. If you are trying to figure out how you’re going to manage this season, you’re not alone. If you’re trying to find the balance between giving and surviving, you’re not alone. If you are trying to scrape together your pennies to share hope and joy with others, you are not alone. God sees what you are doing in secret and will multiply your sacrifice with the sacrifice of others for greater blessing and love.
In the 20 minutes I was in Home Goods, lots of angels donated $5 or less because the last amount I heard when I was at the register was $1,000.
Your Advent adventure for today is to scout out or act on an opportunity to give. You might only have two pennies, but shared together with all the other pennies in the Salvation Army ringer’s bucket, you know you are making a difference to others in greater need. Oh, and if you think about it, let me know how it goes!
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by my need and the needs of others. I wonder how any sacrifice I make will make any real difference in my life, much less the lives of others. Help me to be thankful for what I do have and may I be open to being a blessing to others. Amen.