I’ve been reading the parable of the widow with her offering. It makes me think of the phrase “two cents.” I like this phrase. It’s a useful disclaimer when I’m about to say something. “I’ll give you my two cents,” I’ll say. “But that’s about all its worth.”
I hide behind that sometimes, as though saying my words don’t carry weight will excuse me of any negative implications. I like to name them as two cents, so that no one will think I’m passing them off as a twenty-dollar bill.
My husband caught me the other day. “I don’t know what that’s rooted in,” he said. “That desire to say you only have two cents. What you have to say is worthwhile.”
I’ve thought a lot about that recently. Our tendency to determine what contributions are more valuable than others. Sure, money is the most obvious one, but what about Time? Conversation? Relationship?
What do you have to put in the box? Holly Pierlot uses this example when she’s talking about being a present mother:
“Jesus is perfectly wiling to bless my efforts,” she writes. “But first he had to have efforts to bless….I had to give a full five loaves and two fish – not three loaves, not two loaves. I had to apply all of me to the task and mission I was called to be and do, not haphazardly, but fully, methodically, completely. Jesus was asking for the dedication of my entire self to my vocation.”
The story of the widow and the offering box seems straightforward. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re putting in two cents or twenty. It’s whether you are putting in all you have.
I think the trick is that we often don’t know what we have. Two mites or twenty dollars, we think it’s about what we can scrounge up to give. But the real question is: are you putting in all of yourself?
Perhaps it’s time to stop determining what our contributions are really worth and hustle on up to the offering box instead. He can use two mites. He can use four loaves. He can use the mouth of an ass. He can use you and me, whatever we have to offer.