We’re reading the story of the widow’s offering this morning (Mark 12:41-44).
A humble one, eyes downcast, who gave her best.
From her poverty, she gave all.
The Greek word can also be translated life.
From her poverty, she gave life.
I met her once, you know.
Once upon a time when I taught in the city.
She was a Little One, all spindly legs and braided hair.
Smart and articulate beyond her years, she came and went from my classroom that year, as her housing situation depended on the day (and, sometimes, on the kindness of strangers).
We shared a name, this Little One and I, and I joked that she was really my sister.
She loved to read, this Little One, and so when I offered a new book each month for just one dollar, she would scrounge together a handful of change and count it out carefully into my hand.
To have something of her own.
With her name inside.
There was a hurricane that year.
So much destruction, so many lives displaced.
We gave from our abundance, many of us.
Writing a check to soothe our conscience.
And then I met her.
Skipping into my classroom one dreary morning, she had gathered not one dollar but two.
Waving them in the air, she flashed a smile.
Ms. Hicks, she beamed.
One for the book! And one for the hurricane!
My breath catches in my throat at the memory.
A holy moment.
I do not know how to give like this.
I cannot wrap my head, my heart, my words or my bank account around it.
But I know it when I see it.
And that day, I saw it.
Out of her poverty, she gave life.
I don’t know where her dollar went. I hope the Red Cross spent it wisely.
I know she did.