“He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins” (Luke 21:2, NIV 1984).
Years ago when I lived and worked in Nigeria, I spent one afternoon walking through the nearby village of Sanubi. Halfway through our visitation, we entered the concrete block, dirt floor home of an elderly Christian woman who was nearly blind. Her home was sparse with a cot, a corner table, a plastic chair and little else. When the pastor introduced us, she bobbed her head with a grin of pure joy. After she was assured that I was seated, she took a small plate, dusted it off, reached up under the tablecloth and pulled out a small coin. The coin was a kobo, worth less than the widow’s mite but valuable to her. She placed the kobo on the plate and held it out to me as a gift for my visit.
Have you ever looked at your life and discovered how you’ve been caught up thinking about yourself? Have you ever been so focused on your own needs, or the needs of those you love, such that self-centered thinking has oppressed your whole world? As I imagine the life of my Savior, I cannot picture Him ever being this way unless it was for a brief time in the desert or in the garden of Gethsemane. Looking into the face of that Sanubi woman, I am embarrassed by such periods in my own life. Who knows what personal or family burdens she bore in that distant forest with Jesus? Surely they were as great as mine. And yet, in that dirt floor room with poverty and personal tragedies that I can only imagine, she stands there in my memory, holding out that kobo as a precious gift to me out of love.
As I presently sit with my burden of self-focus, how do I rise up and overcome? I know that I cannot fix all the problems that weigh me down. And I realize it will do me no good to try with all my might to self generate the heart of that Sanubi woman. My way to change lies not with effort but with surrender. If I am to see and trust and live the way God intends, I need to dust off the plate of my life and offer myself as that tiny coin to the Creator who has stepped into my poor and dusty home.
All I am, by your grace let me surrender.