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40 Days 2020 Week 5 image

40 Days 2020 Week 5

[SCRIPTURE] Mark 12:42-44, Mark 14:6-8

[REFLECTION]

As Jesus prepared for his final hours on earth in Jerusalem, he observed two unnamed women giving two very different gifts to the Lord – one incredibly small, the other incredibly large. Neither of these gifts were celebrated by the people who witnessed them. The widow’s gift was seemingly inconsequential. What good could two small copper coins possibly do in comparison to the large sums being given by the wealthy people around her? On the other hand, those who had gathered at Simon’s home were indignant that a woman would have the audacity to use up such an expensive jar of perfume all at once for such an impractical purpose.These two gifts were considered by most to be out of place - too small or too extravagant to be helpful or commendable - but Jesus had a very different view of things. According to Jesus, these gifts were exactly right, and they were both of extraordinary value. Jesus called the widow’s two coins the most valuable gift of all. Jesus called the woman’s gift of perfume a beautiful and utterly fitting gift that would be remembered and honored for generations to come. Why the difference in perspective?

First, the monetary value of the gift was inconsequential to Jesus. What was significant to Jesus in both cases is that they gave sacrificially. They gave gifts that modeled in very concrete terms the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus would demonstrate on the way to the cross. Second, both of these women gave gifts that required them to trust God with their future. The widow at the temple treasury gave “all she had to live on.” The woman in Bethany gave perfume that would normally have been reserved as a kind of nest egg for her future. In giving these gifts, these women were entrusting their future wellbeing to God in great faith that he would provide them all that they needed.

In dealing with all the uncertainties and extraordinary disruptions the COVID-19 virus outbreak is causing in our personal lives and around the world, I’m inspired by the gifts of these two women to stay focused on “doing what I can” to share generously and sacrificially with others, even when it doesn’t seem like much. I’m also challenged to daily surrender control of my future to God who is certainly working out a good plan in our lives beyond what we are able to see right now.

[STARTER PRAYER]

God thank you for all the generous gifts you share with us each and every day. In these uncertain and fearful times, please help my mind to be so renewed and transformed by your love that I can be free to worship you with sacrifice, generosity and faith, just as these women did. Help me to rest in your care, and help me to know the peace that passes understanding that you have promised all those who put their trust in you. Amen.

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