A minister and his spouse were serving in the rural western hills of Puerto Rico. With most church members working on coffee or tobacco fields, the gifts their congregation gave simply came from the materials they had available. The couple learned that a certain number of mangoes could be traded for avocados; eggs were exchanged for plantains. Regardless of what the harvest was, one could always count on a rich cup of strong coffee to keep you awake for days.
One year, however, a devastating hurricane decimated the crops. As Christmas approached, all resources continued to be scarce; food security was a concern. And as for the expectations surrounding gift-giving, what were people going to do?
One December afternoon the ministry couple stepped out to run errands. Upon their return, they saw a simple grocery bag on their porch. Peeking out of it were all kinds of produce and delicately made savory treats. He prayed. She cried. “Who made this gift? This surprising, selfless gift in such a time of dire need?” To this day, they have never known.
God smiles down on us when we give—not from the fringes of our excess, but from our joyous heart, with all that we are and all that we have. This is the amazement Jesus expresses when he witnesses the widow’s extraordinary gift in the temple. When have we been part of such an extraordinary experience?
What leads us to take what we have and offer an extraordinary gift?
God, we often think we don’t have enough when in fact we have more than we think. Help us hear your call to give our whole selves and share our abundance, however lean, with others. Teach us to give selflessly each day. Amen.