Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah from Jerusalem! It can be kind of difficult to get into the Christmas spirit in a place where the majority of the city doesn’t celebrate Christmas, and finding wrapping paper is next to impossible! However, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, my dear friend and partner in crime, Alyssa Rhodes, had our own little Christmas party the other night complete with sufganiyot (Chanukah donut) and gifts.(I was quite proud of my ingenuity by buying a disposable table cloth in which to swath my gifts! J However, I digress, and this is not the point of the post.)
A widow’s mite hooked on a slender silver chain. Not just a little trinket from a dollar store, but a real antique widow’s mite complete with a ticket of authenticity from a store of a friend in the Old City. That’s what Alyssa gave me. It is lovely, and I feel like it symbolizes something deeper than simply being a beautiful antique…It’s something that has been smacking me across the face lately.
The widow. She gave all she had.
But it was just a mite…honestly, what good was that going to do anyone? What could that tiny piece of money be used for? It would have made no difference if she had simply kept it for herself. I mean, what was the point?
I think the point was her heart. She loved her God. She gave out of the depth of her poverty and that was the point. Saying I love you by giving all you have. If it’s easy and it doesn’t personally inconvenience you in the least does it really mean anything at all? What kind of an “I love you” is that?
Sometimes I look at my own life and I smile and sometimes I sigh. I smile because I am living my dream. My heart is where it has always wanted to be. I am so blessed to be able to live this adventure! I sigh because the way we envision our dreams are quite often not the reality of what real life entails. I sigh because even though I know this life is what I want, sometimes everything is just hard.
I honestly don’t have much to give, and sometimes I wonder if it will make any difference at all. Learning a new language has been very difficult for me, and I’m not trying to be modest when I say this. I struggle. Memorization is a constant source of frustration for me, and I know I’m behind the others in the class. Test scores don’t lie. I can’t play music like I want to. Once again, I’m not trying to be modest. Music has not come easy for me, and I’m having to realize that there is a certain level that I just won’t be able to reach no matter how much I practice. I need to be okay with that. Sometimes it feels like you have to squeeze out every ounce of what little you have, but it’s still not enough. And it isn’t. What I have is not enough. It is a widow’s mite.
Often I compare myself with other people and question why things seem to come so easily for them while I have to struggle. And it certainly appears that they are definitely getting better results than I am. (Test scores don’t lie). But then I’m struck with the realization that this really is not the point. It’s not the only thing. Yes, we want to see results, and yes we want to make a difference. But I think it’s about more than that—it’s about you and God. It’s about saying “I love you.” It’s about being willing to struggle and feel loss and have empty hands and work hard and give things up not just to see results, but simply for the sake of love. To look at Jesus and be willing to say that even if we never get the results we want, we are willing to struggle because we love You.
So I get to live my dream…I love being able to be on an adventure like this! If everything came easily for me, my life would feel pretty picture-perfect. But things don’t come easily for me. I only have a widow’s mite to give, and I’m learning to be okay with that because if it doesn’t cost you anything is it really a gift? If it’s all a bed of roses–what kind of an “I love you” is that? What was it that David said in 1 Chronicles 21:24
But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”
So I’m learning to be thankful for the weakness, emptiness, and loneliness that can come. Thankful that I have a widow’s mite and not piles of gold. I’m learning to be thankful for it because I want to be able to tell my Jesus that I love Him and show Him this by being willing to live the struggle that keeps the dream from being picture/perfect.
How can I sacrifice to my God with that which has cost me nothing? Think about it.