I want to share with you part of an article that really brings home the meaning of one of the gospel stories today. It’s a story of a young Pastor who was working in the Philippines.
One morning, the pastor told us that we would be going to an elderly woman’s house to pray for her because she was destitute. Her children were all adults and had moved away, so she was left as a widow with no financial support except for the generosity of the church. It was only when we arrived at the woman’s house that I truly realized the significance of what the pastor was trying to help us understand. Her “house” was mostly made of sticks and some corrugated tin, with a roof made of leaves. When we entered her home, she would not look us in the eyes because she felt ashamed. According to Filipino hospitality, it is customary to give food and beverages to guests. The whole time we were there, she cried and gave thanks to God because we had come to see her.
Two days later, we were leading a Bible study in a banana grove close to her house. After we started, we saw her walk up, but she stayed in the back. When we were finished, she came to me – still with her head bent down – and slid something in the pages of my Bible. She, then, took my hand and placed it on her forehead, which is a custom that shows ultimate respect – grandchildren do this to their grandparents. She said, “Salamat po” which translates something like “Thank you, sir,” and walked away. I looked in the pages of my Bible to see what she had given me, and it was a two-peso coin. She had given me everything she had!
The connection between this experience and the story in Mark of the widow giving her two coins overwhelmed me. Here, the widow give everything they have. Sometimes, the most vulnerable in society, give their lives (or livelihoods) to God’s purposes. I wonder what would happen if this type of generosity defined the lives of all God’s children. Imagine the kind of world we could we live in.