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November 8, 2015

The Good News for today

Jesus was sitting near the collection box, watching the people drop money into it; and many rich people put in large amounts. Then there came a poor widow, and she threw in a couple of dollars—that does not add up to much. And He called his followers over to Him—and He says to them, “The fact is—I am telling you—this poor widow has put in more than everybody else put in…. because they gave from their surplus, but she took from her need and put in all that she had—even money vital for her to live on.” (Mark 12)

This story seems simple, and it is. The real problem is getting past the “casting of stones” on those rich people, and appreciating your own generosity, reflecting on challenges for you to consider your own repentance.

The point is not so much money as the Spirit that manages it. Your expenditures include necessities—the monthly bills, the grocery store, transportation costs, and repairs that occur. You budget this, you budget charity—church donations, and that shelter, society or school to which you chalk up income tax deductions. But it is really all about love—real love.

In Hebrew, a word, hesed, usually translated as love or steadfast love reminds us of the “extra” which true love includes. Hesed means loving actions that contain a freshness, an original edge; the Psalms (e.g., Ps 136) mention how God’s hesed-acts demonstrate constant creative acts for us.

True loving includes imaginative individual acts of generosity, a giving that does not stop giving once some act of dutiful kindness gets done. In the olden days a preacher used the example of the “bread-winner” who, bringing home his paycheck to his stay-at-home wife, brought a little extra each time—a rose, a card, a poem, a prepared meal, or a small bottle of perfume. It is THAT thoughtfulness the poor widow brings to God—that attitude of care, thoughtfulness and other-ness. The Good News is itself such an act of love—freeing you, enlightening you and raising you from the dead.

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