Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Mark 12:38-44:
As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! 40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

Carrol did the sermon today, and she brought a slightly different angle to a Gospel verse I've heard many times. When the widow gave all that she had, her hands were empty, yet they were also free to grasp God's grace. The rich still had plenty of riches to grasp onto after they had given their offerings. The problem is that if you still are grasping something with clenched fists, it makes it pretty hard to grab onto anything else. But the poor widow, now "empty-handed" by the world's standards, could grab onto God with both free hands and hold on for dear life.

The "twelve-step" folks would call this "letting go and letting God." In fact, it's summed up in Step Three: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." I first understood this when a co-worker of mine got serious about his recovery from drugs. He had me read the "NA Basic Text" so I could understand better what he was trying to accomplish. I remember telling him after reading it, "Well, hell, there isn't anything in this book that all of us ought to do about something in our lives, not just about drugs."

As it turns out, Jesus did think this message was for all of us. We may not be anywhere near an offering plate, but we can still make a decision to turn our will in a different direction, which will turn our lives in a different direction. We may not be addicted to alcohol or drugs, but we are still all "Recovering something-or-anothers." Maybe we are recovering from the loss of someone dear to us. Perhaps we are recovering from abusive childhood experience or spousal violence. We might even be recovering from an issue that has happened regarding our jobs or our bank accounts. But no matter how big or small, we are all recovering from something that life has thrown at us, that we drew the short straw and had to learn to get past it.

But the fact remains we cannot recover from the slings and arrows of life, no matter how big or how small, if we do not loosen the grasp on what is holding us down and grab on with both hands to what God has to offer. Although the verse is talking about money, it's a mistake to think of this message only as financial one, otherwise we will fall victim to a "prosperity Gospel" mindset. Jesus' message is bigger than that. All God asks from us is to hang on and He will see to it our action will not be in vain.

Thanks be to God.

Dear Lord: Teach us to be unafraid of "letting go"--to remove the white knuckled grip to things that hold back our growth as spiritual beings. Be with us in those moments when we turn our wills over to you or are debating turning our wills and our lives over to your eternal care. Help us loosen our fists and instead, use our hands for hugging the goodness You have to offer. Amen.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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