Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Wednesday, April 5, 2023 — Morning
By Rev. Rick Isbell
The Act of Giving
Read: Luke 21:1-4
On Sunday, January 15, during the singing of the first hymn at the 11 am service, she slipped quietly into the nave and sat down in the south transept. She was a woman of the community wearing a worn coat, a cap over her head, and carrying several large shopping bags in her hands. I don’t know her name nor did I think much of her attendance that morning. The nave was a warm and welcoming place on a cold winter morning. But this one woman exemplified the act of unselfish and humble giving in a most powerful way.
During the time in worship when the congregation shares its tithes and offerings, she showed what Jesus was talking about in the first few verses of Luke 21. While the offering plates were being passed and people were putting in their checks and cash, and as the choir shared the offertory anthem, this lady rose from her pew on the side transept and shared an amazing “sermon” on what Jesus had taught. She slowly and quietly came near the baptismal font and carefully placed two small wrapped bouquets of flowers on the table beside the baptismal font. Then she quietly went back to her pew. She gave what she had this one morning as an offering to God. As we sang the last hymn, she gathered her bags and quietly slipped out the door into the hallway.
I will probably never see her again, but what she did during worship on January 15 will remain with me forever. She showed me that all gifts given in the humble and sacrificial way she gave are sometimes more powerful than all the checks and $20 bills put in the offering plate. “He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty…’” (Luke 21: 3-4 NRSV)
Oh dear God, help me to give so others might know of your love and grace. During this Lenten season, show me how and where I might give like this lady did. Amen.