The Good Courage devotion today asked the reader to consider what they give out of their abundance, and what do they give out of their poverty. The underlying message or point I took from this was that giving out my abundance is easy. Further, that which we give from our poverty, the areas of our life in which we feel lacking, is a deeper, more noble kind of giving.
The practical example the writer gave came from their experience of sorting cans collected in a food drive, and seeing how many from her parish gave expired canned goods. I’ve “been there and done that”, in that I’ve helped sort after two community wide food drives in our area.
We packed dozens of cardboard boxes with cans that could not be passed along at the food bank, or the local food pantry, so would be taken to a local farmer who’d feed it all to their chickens. (Apparently, chickens can eat almost anything.)
What does it mean to give in the way the “poor widow” in the gospel story gives?
“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. ” (Mark 12: 43– 44)
Today’s devotion in Good Courage invited readers to consider times we have been given a gift of hope.
I was in my last year of university, living in an “apartment” in the attic of a tiny house. The kitchen, actually the landing between 2 small upstairs rooms, was home to a bar fridge that doubled as the food prep surface, and the place I put the hot plate, when I needed it. Accomodations were simple, but adequate, and pretty much all I could afford.
I worked the night shift on the front desk of a downtown hotel, and did my homework after the bar closed and the place got quiet. I was careful to only take afternoon or evening classes, so I could go home after each 11-7 shift, and catch some sleep before school. I was grateful to have a job, and be able to study. I needed to complete an undergraduate degree as the pre-requisite to study theology.
I also needed to apply to seminary, by a certain date. There was an application fee. I didn’t have it. There were scholarships and bursaries I later accessed, as a candidate for ministry enrolled in a program, but none for those about to apply.
The women’s group at my home church, which included several of my former Sunday School teachers had said they’d help, but it was going to take a week or so to pass a motion, and issue a cheque.
A person I’d met at church function, who was on a teacher exchange from another province offered to help. We’d known each other only a few days- but he handed me the cash. I told him I’d return it when the church ladies came through. He told me not to worry.