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29 & 30 July 2023 (Pastoral Page) THE WIDOW’S GIFT

By Asst Ps Lai Keet Keong

It must have been a huge decision. One that was made after much thought, faith, and sacrifice. Finally, the widow picked up the courage and subtly dropped her mite into the offering bin which created hardly a sound. Unlike those flaunting, with their bags of gold coins accompanied by trumpets and bands, she had no wish to draw such attention to herself. Perhaps she thought that was all she could afford anyway. As she walked away swiftly, Jesus must have watched with warm tears in His eyes. He alone understood the significance of the widow’s sacrifice.

Great sacrifice is not measured by how much you give, but how much you keep for yourselves. When King David declared that he would not give to the Lord an offering that costs him nothing (1 Chronicles 21:24), he was not referring to the face value of the gift, but the sacrifice required for it. This is a process that is often marked with pain, endured with hope, and fulfilled with joy.

Have you ever looked at what you have to offer God, and felt small and unworthy? You knew that God looks at the heart, but inwardly you wondered if this gift can really make any difference in God’s kingdom. My dear friends, whenever you feel this way, remember:

1. God does not call the strong but the weak.

“But (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

Sometimes we feel that we have nothing to offer the Lord. Unlike the strong and gifted, our widow’s mite appears frail in comparison. But God works differently. He calls us to depend on Him and not on own strength and effort. No one can save themselves. Our weaknesses and failures, in the hands of God, only serve to showcase His glory. Therefore, let us stop striving in our own strength and rest in God’s grace and power.

2. God does not call the wise but the foolish.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise...” (1 Corinthians 1:27a)

The “wise” believe they have all the affairs of life, whether positive or negative, figured out. Yet, instead of the wise, God chooses the foolish for his purposes. To be foolish does not mean to be reckless. Instead, Paul refers to it as having eyes of faith. That is, learning to see what God sees (Hebrews 11:1-3), and willing to obey His call (Hebrews 11:8-13). My friends, when our own wisdom clashes with God’s command, may faith in God ultimately rule our resolve. (c.f. Galatians 3:3-6).

3. God does not call the proud but the humble.

“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)

When we are endowed with strength and wisdom, it is easy to be tempted with pride. When we focus on ourselves, become confident of our own choices, and convinced by our self-imposed limitations (a reverse form of pride), we give God no room to use us for His glory. Pride is the reason Satan fell from heaven. The fear of failure and the inertia to move out of our comfort zone may well be an expression of pride. Dear friends, God can accomplish great and incredible things through those who are lowly in spirit.

4. God does not call the whole but the broken.

Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

The Pharisees were hypocrites. They saw themselves as righteous, due to their heritage and religiosity. They also saw the rest as faulty and unworthy. And so, they rejected Christ because they did not recognise their need to be saved. Jesus has not come for such ones but for those who are broken. Being broken does not mean living with a sense of defeat and lack of confidence. It is about remembering and exalting God’s deliverance and power. The broken continually declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light! (1 Peter 2:9). We live in a broken world where God alone can make something beautiful out of our brokenness.

God calling the weak, foolish, humble and broken does not mean that God does not use our strength, wisdom and gifts which He has blessed us with in the first place. Rather, it means that God looks at the posture of our spirit. He delights to use those who trust in him. And even if we have a tattered past, the Bible tells us that those who put their trust in the Lord will never be put to shame. (Romans 10:11)

As the widow walked away, her purse was empty, but her heart filled with heavenly joy – a joy that the world cannot give, nor take away. Nothing in this world is greater than the pleasure of God. Your gift, no matter how weak, foolish, humble or broken, is exactly what God is looking for. Will you choose not to hold it back anymore and offer it to God? I pray you will.

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