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  • Writer's pictureBrandi Bourne

Your gift matters

“And He looked up and saw the rich putting in their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Yesterday our Pastor talked about this Scripture, and he gave a great message about generosity. There were a couple parts that hit me a little different though and had me asking God some questions I know I have no business asking Him to be honest. Not that He minds. I’m pretty sure God is used to me asking questions at this point. I just have to be careful that I am not questioning Him or His plan. Anyways, this morning this Scripture came back to my memory, and I was sitting there thinking about it. And it hit me – I wonder how the widow felt, giving the last of what she had. Was she grateful for an opportunity to give? Was she worried about how she was going to live? Was she confident that the seed she was planting would be returned to her? Did she feel shame that she couldn’t give more? Oof. That last one. I got stuck there. How did the widow feel about giving such a small amount?

I realize the Bible doesn’t give us much else on this story. I tend to ponder on some of the things the Bible doesn't mention. I also realize there’s a group of people who might knock me for talking about “feelings” when it comes to a faith topic. But as I will continue to say – I am here to talk about real-life issues, not hide behind a mask and shove those “feelings” into a hole to be forgotten about. God can use feelings too. Though we should not be led by them.

I can relate to this widow. I am not a widow, but I am a single mom. I know what it’s like to have such a small amount to give. I heard a number yesterday and thought, “God I wish I had that to give. Because You know I would.” Most of the time, I feel like the widow. I see all these needs around me, and I can’t help to meet them. The hardest one ever was a 70-80 something year old woman, living on the streets. I think about that woman every single day and how I wish I could get her a place for the next year of her life. She won’t go to the shelter. (It’s not likely the one out here would take her anyway because they are a work program.) I see so many people on the street in that same boat and wish that I could provide their second greatest need – a home. I think about other single moms who are struggling. I meet passengers on the brink of losing everything like we have been. Kids in my son’s school clearly have a need for some new clothes or shoes. I do pray for them. I pray that God send laborers to reach them and to bless them. That He will open a door and they will have the courage to step through that door. And prayer is powerful.

I also love watching those videos where someone gets blessed. I know a lot of content creators may do it for attention or they make money off it (usually the money they give away) but there’s just something so heartwarming about watching someone in one of their lowest moments be blessed. I don’t know about you, but it restores my faith in humanity, and it inspires me to pay attention to the needs around me that I don’t always see.

It’s great to hear the messages about how God is blessing people. And I can testify to the fact that when we obey the principle of giving, He will take care of us. It may not be in the way we would expect or on our timing though. The whole reason I am writing all of this is I believe there are many who are in this season of stretching in the financial area. You hear these messages (not the prosperity gospel) about how God blesses givers. But you are a giver. Tithe and offering. You hear about how poverty is not our portion, how God wants us to be blessed, how He gives us the wisdom to make wealth – but you struggle with the basic bills. You see other Christians flourishing in the financial area, paying off all their debt, buying a house, sending their kids to private Christian school – while you just try to make ends meet. Is that just me? Or are some of you facing this too? Now let me say that this isn’t about coveting what someone else has – most of those people have gone through real struggles to get to where they are today, and they work very hard for all that they have. But sometimes seeing that makes seasons of learning to be content difficult. And of course, the pursuit of material things is an endless one, so I don’t recommend traveling on that road. But I do get what it’s like to just want to take care of your family. And what it’s like when the best advice you can get is things you have already done (like “speak and declare it/just ask God,” “be responsible/a good steward with your money,” or “sow a seed.”) Maybe I’m the only one who has had this thought – “God, why not me?”

For a while I chalked it up to thinking “I must not be responsible enough to handle a large amount of money.” That God sees that I may have pride or forget to acknowledge Him or that I need to learn how to budget properly. That I need to build character before I can handle something like that. I’ve also started looking at my life to see where I messed up. Is there someone I should have honored and didn’t? Is there something God asked me to do that I didn’t do? I have a bad habit of assuming I did something wrong every time a problem arises. God’s working on that with me. And I’m willing to bet many of you go through that same thing. Self-examination is important but don’t let guilt and shame become a part of that process.

I've also thought maybe it's because there are people that I can reach being in this position, people I might not encounter otherwise. I hung onto that one for awhile, convinced that was the whole reason and I was good with that. Until someone in my neighborhood had a big need I couldn't meet. Then I realized it might be better to be the neighbor who can help rather than the neighbor whose in the same boat...

The truth is – I have no idea why God is choosing not to show up in some huge way. It may be all of the above or none of the above. It’s frustrating because I know He can. I’ve seen Him do it for others. And I am staying in faith for a miracle still. But this is where I have to stop myself because the next thing I will end up doing is questioning His purpose and plan in it. And I have NO right to do that. Even though I do sometimes. I need to trust that He knows what He is doing.

Here’s what I do know. I know that God is in control of my life because I’ve given Him that control. I know that though I am not perfect, He comes first in all things. I know that He has and always will provide for us. I know that I cannot stop praising God when I go through the trials. I know that every time I think a bill is not going to get paid, it does. I know I’ve stressed myself out to the point of tears and sleepless nights WAY too many times in this trial. You see, Jesus is asleep in the same boat I am in. He’s not worried one bit about what’s happening – I am. I am the one trying to wake Him up. And He’s going to look at me with all the love of God in His eyes and say, “Brandi. You gotta have faith in me. I need you to trust me.” I know that one day I’ll look back on this time in my life and I will be grateful for the growth that happened, growth that can only happen in a trial like this. And if you're in this with me, you will too.

As far as providing for the needs of others – that’s not our job. Hear me out here. The reason it’s not our job is because we don’t see the whole picture of what God is doing in that person’s life. We may want to jump in and rescue them – but that’s not our job. It’s God’s job. Being obedient to the voice of God is our job. He may want to use us to accomplish His purpose. But He isn’t going to do that before we have the character built up to be used in that way. Another thing – seeing the needs of others helps us to build compassion. You see, someone who has been given everything in their life at the drop of a hat isn’t going to be able to relate to the person who ate beans and rice every night. But if you've been in their shoes you're going to understand exactly how to help them.

I think something the church has done unintentionally is make people who are at the other end of the spectrum discontent with their lives. I don’t believe that was ever the intention. But I think when we talk about how much God can bless us, I think we also need to talk about how blessed we are in every season. And how each person may be called to a different walk. I think about Mother Teresa, one of the greatest women of faith who ever lived. God asked her to live a simple life so she could relate to those people. She was in the struggle with them. I think about missionaries who go overseas and give up all the luxuries we have in order to reach people with the gospel. Not everyone is called to a life of wealth and riches. Sure, God wants to bless us in every area because we are blessed to be a blessing, but some are going to have a different story. I am not saying we should come into agreement with a poverty mindset, but we do need to learn to be content with what God has given us. And this is something the church needs to talk about when we talk about finances.

Going back to the story about the widow – Jesus didn’t say “She should be more responsible with her money.” He didn’t say “she must have a poverty mindset, that’s not what I have planned for her.” He didn’t say “Because of this, I’m going to make her rich!” I’d like to believe that seed meant that widow was taken care of for life, much like the widows in the stories of Elijah and Elisha. But we don’t get all that in this story. But what we do see is 1. This woman’s gift was used in a story that was recorded in the greatest book of all time, the Word of God. 2. Jesus saw her. He saw her gift. 3. It wasn’t about the amount. It’s never been about the amount. When I look back on those points you know what I think? I’m content with Jesus seeing me. Maybe I can’t give this huge gift that I’d like to, but I can give what I have. And I can pray that others give what they have, so together we can make a big difference. Maybe the thought did cross her mind “I wish I could give more.” But she had to have heard what Jesus said about her gift. What a gift it must have been to have been acknowledged by Jesus in such a personal way, one that went down in history.

At the end of the day, all of us should be striving to hear those words “well done My good and faithful servant.” We should strive to use everything that God has given us for His glory. Not just our finances, but our gifts/talents and our time. God can do a lot with those. So, I encourage you today, give what you can. Don’t feel ashamed that you can’t meet this ginormous need. Do your part and God will do the rest. And if you are in a position that you’re reading this and thinking “actually I can give a lot” or do, thank you. You are very much needed in the Kingdom! If you’re reading this thinking “well, I don’t really give at all” I encourage you to start somewhere. There is so much to be said about the principle of sowing and reaping, but at the end of the day we don’t give for what we get out of it. We give because it’s the least we can do when God’s given us everything we have. (If you want a whole message about that let me know because that message Sunday was fantastic. I’d be happy to send ya’ll a link.) Whatever God tells you to give (and yes, ask Him) – give that. And do it with joy knowing that you have the ability to give that – even if it’s a sacrificial seed! Until next time, be blessed!

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