Each Advent, I commit to reading the daily lectionary, the Bible readings that prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s coming. This year, I’m writing a brief reflection on these readings each weekday. It’s Advent, day six.
Readings: Isaiah 3:8-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; Luke 20:41-21:4
Recall yesterday's reading from Isaiah ? Remember how the prophet wrote that all of humanity's silver and golden gods would be left to the rodents on the day of the King's return? Silver, gold, wealth, self-sufficiency--it's all an illusion, the prophet says.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that today's Advent Gospel reading also touches on wealth and self-sufficiency. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus preached to the people within earshot of the Sadducees. He warned the people of the Sadducees' abuse of power, of they way they used their religious position to gain wealth, honor, and respect. But in the middle of his sermon, something caught his eye. Scripture records it this way:
"He 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)
Why was the woman giving everything she had? Why was she so willing to give from her poverty? I suppose we'll never know the answers to those questions. But why did Jesus praise her sacrifice of copper over the rich man's offering of gold and silver? This might be an easier answer. This widow, poor as she was, understood that her meager copper (not to mention gold or silver) could not save her. It was likely not enough to buy food or clothing. Perhaps it wasn't enough to pay her rent. And in her great lack, she understood that she was dependent upon God, the sustainer of her life. He was her provision, and she intended to show thanks by returning to him what little he'd given her.
What a beautiful picture of the circle of life.
I give back.
He gives again.
I give again.
Round, and round, and round we go.
I've said this before, but Advent is a season of preparation for the coming King. But what good is a season of preparation without actual preparation? Today, ask yourself these questions:
-Do you find your security in gold, silver, or your IRA?
-What will happen to that security when you meet the coming King? Will he take stock of it?
-Are you willing to give from your wealth and poverty alike? Are you willing to sacrifice in gratefulness, knowing it's the King's provision that sustains you?
[tweetherder]The King is coming. The King is coming. The King is coming. Are you ready?[/tweetherder]
***The Practice of Prayer: Thanksgiving***