A Sunday Reflection*:
The readings for the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost are here.
When you hear the word abundance, where do your thoughts go?
When you hear the word enough, where do your thoughts go?
In the reading from Mark’s telling of the good news story today, Jesus and the disciples are on the campus of the Temple in Jerusalem and Jesus offers us a comparison, more like a juxtaposition really, of two people: those who give out of abundance and those who give. (No, I didn’t forget any words at the end of that last sentence.)
Jesus speaks of those who give out of their abundance, people who give because there is some left over. And then he points out one individual who doesn’t have enough and still gives. Jesus provides us with clues in the verses we read today as to the motivation of the folks who give out of abundance when he cautions the disciples to beware of the religious leaders who seek public recognition by showing off, who casually toss in some spare change and say “oh, it’s nothing” because, really, it means nothing to them.
If you back up even more and read all of the 12th chapter of Mark, you gain an even deeper understanding of Jesus’ teaching on our motivations for giving. Do we give simply to give or do we give because we want recognition or because we can afford to? Materialistically, the widow could not afford to give; spiritually she knew she couldn’t afford not to.
This widow was all in with God, living within God’s Kingdom economy even if those around her were not. This woman, whom God had commanded his people over and over again to care for (along with orphans and foreigners and all whom society marginalizes), gave all she had. It was everything to her.
Are we all in with God? Do we strive to live in the Kingdom Economy even is no one around us does so? Even if the world around us tries to prevent us from doing so? In the Kingdom Economy, everyone has enough. When our greatest desire is that all people know they are loved and cared for, we discover there is always an abundance of everything. There is always enough.
*Now that I am back in parish ministry, I will be preaching every other Sunday. For the alternate Sundays I will still do a short(ish) reflection on the lectionary readings.