The Widow’s Offering of Encouragement

On my desk at work I have one of those little pocket-sized books; you know the kind that are 3″ x 2½” that you find in the checkout line at the bookstore? The one on my desk is called Daily Prayer. Each page includes a Bible verse from the NIV plus a short prayer suggestion. The other day I opened it up looking for some wisdom and found this:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 (NIV).

As you pray today:

Pray about giving a little extra to cover a special request that you know about.

The verse talks about tithing, and we usually think first of money when we read this verse. But it occurred to me when I read this that sometimes the little extra that God calls us to give is not out of our financial resources, but our of our spiritual and emotional resources.

But what if our spiritual and emotional resources are running low? What if we don’t feel like we have any encouragement left to give because we fear we will need all that we have to sustain ourselves? That’s how I’ve been feeling at times lately. And yet there is a need for encouragement that has come to my attention, a “special request that I know about.”

I was reminded of a story recorded in Mark 12. This particular incident in the life of Jesus occurred during Holy Week, as He sat in the temple courts during the great festival of the Passover.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (NIV).

Those who have received a wealth of encouragement and spiritual strength ought to share what they have received with others. But sometimes it is necessary to give the widow’s offering of encouragement and spiritual strength, though we may have little to give, rather than keep it for ourselves. When we do, not only will others be blessed, but God will pour out to us such a blessing of encouragement and strength that we will not know what to do with it. If we give the widow’s offering, one day we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21 (NIV).

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8 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, postaday2011

8 responses to “The Widow’s Offering of Encouragement

  1. Wow I like your added thoughts in here — tithes beyond monetary value. I just mentioned blogging in your post ‘A Busy Week Like No Other’ and here I thought about it again because:
    Despite how busy Deb is she encourages other bloggers regularly.
    Despite that Ann was sick she took time to visit and inspire.
    Despite that you have more profound blogs to read you checked mine.
    Despite that Theresa was depressed she took time to appreciate.

    Thank you so much everyone 🙂

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  2. I echo Ann’s comment and your post. Am I going to hold back, worried about myself and my needs or am I going to go ahead and extend what ever encouragement I have to give? If I give all that I think I have, I immediately find I am encouraged and can keep going. If I cling to what little I have, I continue to feel desperate and lacking. I love what you said about Divine Love not being logical. 🙂
    God bless you and all He does with what you give.

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    • Deb, That is exactly it: “If I give all that I think I have, I immediately find I am encouraged and can keep going.” I suspect that the widow, though she gave all she had to live on and then we hear no more about her, never went without that which she needed to be content. She trusted God, and I believe He was faithful to her. Peace, Linda

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  3. Ann

    Thanks, Linda
    “sometimes it is necessary to give the widow’s offering of encouragement and spiritual strength, though we may have little to give, rather than keep it for ourselves.”
    I always say God has a sense of humour … often it is at my lowest that an opportunity for ministry presents itself. How much do I trust Him to use me to meet the needs of others when my own needs aren’t even met?

    Blessings,
    ann

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    • Ann, I have been pondering lately that it is perhaps in meeting the needs of others, when we think we have nothing to give, that He intends to meet our own needs. It’s that whole paradox of finding freedom in surrender. Luke 6:38 comes to mind: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I think we (at least I do) get hung up on logic. But Divine Love is not logical, it just is. Peace, Linda

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  4. Linda –
    I love this and the truth that God calls us to give much more than our financial resources–that it is really about responding to His call to us to reach out to others. To extend ourselves through Him.
    Godspeed,
    Elizabeth

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    • Elizabeth, We were not meant to be isolated, but to be in relationship with God and with others. We like to think we are independent, but truly we are dependent creatures and we need to reach out to others who are dependent, too, so that they will learn on Whom they can depend. Peace, Linda

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