Jesus looked up and saw a poor widow put two small copper coins into the treasury of the Temple. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of the others; for they have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
From the Gospel of Luke (adapted)
The story of the Widow’s Mite is always popular this time of year when the thoughts of the church turn towards the matter of Stewardship. For generations, congregations have turned to this story to encourage giving; but while it is a wonderful story of generosity, it can seem a little coercive if not handled with care.
For a start, it is not a story concerned solely with financial resources and the virtue of sacrificial giving. Theologically speaking, it is about giving our whole selves to God, but as a faithful response to God’s own giving of God’s whole self for us and for the salvation of the world.
From a stewardship standpoint, the widow’s offering is symbolic of all we give to the life of the church. While our financial pledge is essential to the maintenance of the church’s life and mission, the commitment each of us makes of our time and energy, our passion and wisdom, our willingness to try something new, our venturesome spirit to allow God to move us in new directions, is what gives the church its full life.
And every gift, every expression of generosity is needed. When we offer ourselves faithfully, there is no small gift. That, I suspect is the point Jesus is trying to make when he calls our attention to the widow’s offering.
We are grateful for everyone who has supported our church over the past year – for your generous financial gifts offered in support of our new ministry position, to the wide array of gifts offered in support our worship life, our fellowship and caring ministries, and our mission and outreach.
This year, our Stewardship Season opens on October 14th. This is also our annual Laity Sunday service, and it is appropriate that our Deacons will lend their gifts and imagination to shaping and leading a service that invites us to consider how God may be calling each of us to serve and support First Congregational Church in new ways in 2019.
Yours in Christ,