I have been on a Netflix binge. I have been watching two shows that uplift a main character with some extraordinary gift. These exceptional characters use their gifts to uplift, motivate, change, and enhance their community. I have been watching (and rewatching) the shows Suits and Longmire. Both shows use the idea of an individual who possesses an ability to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Walt Longmire solves cases where people needed closure, while Harvey Specter sets the stage of a courtroom and helps jurors see his client through his own lens. Both have significant gifts! The best aspect is that they are both the best at what they do. There is always some aspect of competition that tries to prove otherwise, but both Walt and Harvey always come out on top.
Likened to them, I know of someone else who has an extraordinary gift that would change the world. The person reading my words right now—yes you—whether you know it or not, are a gift to others and when you use your God-given gifts, you can change the world. Maybe nobody is making a tv show inspired by your life, but your gifts are enough to make a big impact.
Two small coins
But since you are not convinced, I want to show you the value of using your gifts to change lives through Luke 21:1-4:
‘He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
What you may find interesting about this is that the people would often find themselves giving to impress each other rather than to glorify the kingdom. They are giving gifts to get their names on a plaque for the public to see their giving amounts and glorify them for their gifts. But what we see is that Jesus, the son of God, does not offer any accolades or acknowledgment to the people who seem to be good gift-givers. These people live in a society filled with judgment and piety. Jesus is simply bearing witness to the reality that there is more that could be given/sacrificed. The rich spend more time talking about their status and ability than living their faith. People would’ve forgotten that they were religious if they didn’t see them in the temple. Honestly, they might have forgotten themselves if it was not for the reminder from the people in their society.
In what ways is the life we live and the posture of our hearts more like those rich people in the temple?
Though I was not there with Jesus, I would expect that the value of the gift from the rich people would be of noteworthy substance. With that being the case, the crowd must have become confused when Jesus stopped the offering procession to tell them that this widow gave more than them. I know she only gave 2 pennies and that is chump change to us, but this woman did not have much to give to begin with. She was dealt a bad hand. She was a widow, and as if this could not be worse, the text revealed that she was a “poor” widow. Which suggests that she was in a far worse financial state than the average widow. She had given everything she had and put her gift on an assignment. She is proof that the substance of your gift does not have to be great to be used.
Trust is a major gift to bring to the table
She did have much to offer, which is often the obstacle that keeps many of us from exploring and even using our gifts. What if your gift is the very one that Jesus wants to highlight, like he did for that woman that day?
She believed that no matter what happened, God would take care of her. Jesus says that she has given more than all of them. To answer the burning question in your hearts, yes, she had; because giving is not about the amount of our gift but rather our willingness to sacrifice for a God who sacrificed it all for us. Sacrifice is something that is common in the bible and is seen all throughout the scriptures. She did not have to wrestle with the question that many of us are wrestling with now: What do you give to a God who has given us everything? What sacrifice is worthy of the sacrifice God has given to us? What gift can I give that truly expresses my gratitude for his sacrifice? The answers to these questions are contextual. I cannot answer this question for you.
But I will leave you with this question to consider: With all the resources you have at your fingertips, are you going to just give a lackluster gift to the one who gave everything to save you?
Are you ready to bring your unique spiritual gifts and strengths to the surface? Come gain a deeper understanding of who God made you to be, and be emboldened to lean into your talents as you take loving action in your church, community, and world! Join us in Exploring Your Gifts and Talents!