41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
I know I've used this story once before, but I came across it again in my prayer journal the other day, and again, it melted my heart....James Robison told of the time, after preaching in one of his crusades, that a father wheeled his daughter, paralyzed from the neck down, up to him. In a frail voice, she asked him to lean in close to her. She whispered, "I want to give everything I am to Him. Do you think He can use someone like me?" Robison said her question so moved and convicted him that he dropped to his knees. In the midst of this girl's broken offering, he was broken.
I read somewhere that here in the west, in the midst of our "It's all about me," culture, we in the church, saturated in that culture, are only willing to give to the point of getting some relief for our guilty conscience. We give with reservations. Not just from our financial and material resources, but from the resource of ourselves as well. We give out of our wealth, calculating just how much is enough. Enough of our goods, our time, ourselves. We can give a lot, but we rarely, if ever are willing to give our all. Not just all we have, but all we are. Jesus said we are not our own, but our lives are usually a great contradiction to that. We live as if we very much belong to ourselves.
The paralyzed girl was the most broken of broken offerings. To the eyes of flesh, she could offer only her broken body. A body dependent on another to even move about. Her all did not amount to much of anything as the world measures things. Yet her giving of herself was riches beyond measure to the heart of the Father. In her offering, Robison encountered the face and heart of God. He was broken before her brokenness. Are we? How can any of us hold back from Him any part of ourselves in the face of such giving? Yet we do, don't we? We don't just hold back "stuff" from Him. We hold back our own brokenness as well. Yet it is our own brokenness, our broken offerings, that I believe move the heart of the Father beyond all else.
Jesus wasn't moved by the surplus offerings of the rich, which likely amounted to a very considerable sum. Yet He was moved by the few cents of the widow. She held nothing back. Along with the few cents, she gave all of herself. And all of our herself, no matter what her earthly condition, was of more value to Him that all the riches of the world. The broken offering of a broken body in a wheelchair, means more to Him than all the partial offerings of all the multi-talented and gifted people in the world, and especially in the church. She asked if He could use her, and He did, He has, through this story alone. Broken offerings in His hands always bring wholeness. And most of all, in them, He displays His glory.
We are all of us broken. Few of us are offerings. Broken offerings to a whole and holy God. Your surplus is of no interest to Him. Your brokenness is. Dare you offer it? In our heart, we all know we're broken. We go to many places and people to try and deal with it. Things, people, relationships. None of these can fix our brokenness. It just keeps showing through. The world throws what's broken away. The Father takes them to His heart....and makes them whole. We're all broken. Will we be a broken offering to Him?