There are two subjects I hate preaching on.
The first is anything to do with s_x (I blush as I type). The second is money (no blush but, a distinct feeling of discomfort). Unfortunately, both subjects appear in the Bible because, the Bible is about the reality of life and the God who is intimately involved in all aspects of life.
I suppose I dislike both subjects because, I regard them as private and personal. I can remember, in my early days as a Christian, a visiting preacher saying it was a great honour to speak about the subject of giving. I have never felt that way.
Sometimes, you just cannot avoid it…
I have been spending a little time in the Gospel of Luke chapters 20 and 21 over the past couple of weeks and money appears in both of them. In Luke 20, Jesus has the conversation about taxes and ends with His amazing response “render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God that which belongs to God”.
As chapter 20 draws to a close, Jesus is involved in some pretty full on parable telling and teaching so, as chapter 21 opens Jesus stops to draw breath and spots a widow putting two copper coins into the Temple Treasury – you can read it for yourself in Luke 21 vs. 1 – 5. This story is commonly called the Widows Mite.
As I read this story (which I have used when forced into preaching on the dreaded “m” word), I saw something in it I hadn’t seen before. I realised that Jesus draws His disciples attention to it because, something within Him was stirred by her actions. Her simple act of putting something that was, in financial terms of the time, worth next to nothing caused Jesus to have an emotional response.
As I thought about it, I have come to believe that this particular moment really blessed Jesus.
The Temple stood at the heart of Jewish religious and civil life at the time. There would have been activity all around, people coming and going the great and the good, the important and the lowly all paying into the treasury. Yet, Jesus doesn’t seem to notice them, instead He sees a poor widow put in two copper coins and it blessed Him.
With all that was going on around, all that He had to do, all the demands He faced Jesus could have easily missed this moment but, He doesn’t. Jesus is attentive to what His Father wants to show Him.
The key to receiving God’s blessing is attentiveness.
Chris Chapman, in his book Earthed in God (Canterbury Press 2018) says that we have to develop the practice of attentiveness. He goes on to explain how we can develop this practice saying;
- What is it that I see, and why does it touch me?
- Why do I feel such excitement or sadness, attraction or fear?
- How are you at work in my life, and how can I co-operate with you?
We hover over the moment, avoiding the temptation to simply move on. There is something to see here – something to learn. But to perceive it we must stay still
Try it for yourself.
Take a moment to stop (it doesn’t have to be long).
What are you drawn to see? What feeling arise within you?
What might God be saying to you?
Who knows, you may see something that really blesses your socks off!