November 7, 2021
by David Crawford
Creighton University-Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Sunday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 155

1 Kings 17:10-16
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Mark 12:38-44 or 12:41-44
Praying Ordinary Time

Possible Bulletin Announcments
to tell your congregation
about the Praying Advent resources.

I look at the examples of the two widows and I am humbled.  A starving mother feeds Elijah even though she only has enough to make one last meal for her son and herself.  A woman giving two coins to the treasury, and Jesus praises her for giving all she had.  These two individuals, models of courage and faith, gave the last of what they had because that was what God called them to do. 

As I go through today’s readings, I question whether I could do what they did:

Do I have the faith and courage to give my last cent?  I recently heard a woman talk about the time when she and her husband made the difficult decision to stop farming.  This had been the couple’s only source of income, and neither had found a job by the time they received the last harvest check.  They discussed reducing or skipping their offering for church, at least until they knew more money was on the way – not an irrational consideration – but decided to give their normal tithe as an act of faith that God would provide.  (He did, of course.)  As difficult as their situation was, the circumstances were even more dire for the widow approached by Elijah.  This mother was down to a last meal for her child, yet she responded faithfully to Elijah’s request.

Do I bring an offering of the firstfruits (Leviticus 23) of my labor, or do I wait to see what is left in my account after I pay rent, utilities, bills – and maybe a nice meal and tickets to a ball game?  The temptation can be to view what I earn as “my money” with offerings and charitable donations given if and when there is money to spare.  The blessing is to remember that everything I have is God’s, and that God will provide what I need when I need it – although I have to be reminded of that.  I am blessed to have several people in my life who model faithful giving.  I recall a friend years ago who wrote his tithe check whenever he wrote a deposit slip (and I am sure he has adjusted now that his paycheck is directly deposited).  I know people who budget for gifts to church and charities, and then use that budget while deciding how much they can afford when buying a house or car.  (They are also pretty good about living modestly so that they have more to give when called to do so.)  I also know of people in the world who can relate closely with the woman who was down to her last coins and who responded with similar faith.

Do I treat the other resources God provides as my own or His?  For many, time is a precious resource, and our days are filled with conscious and unconscious choices about how to use the time God has given us.  I can be so focused on my job that I am oblivious to the signs of someone in need, which causes me to ignore a call to love my neighbor.  I can be tempted to guard my personal time (see how I consider it mine, not God’s) and resist the Spirit’s prompting to help or serve others.  I can fall asleep watching TV at night, so I miss praying before bedtime – and if I was up late enough, I may stay in bed a little longer, which causes me to rush through my time reading these reflections.  Although it has been several years since my children were young, I recall how often sports tournaments or other extracurricular activities conflicted with church or community service; and trying to balance those competing commitments can be hard. 

Do I pass when called to do something seemingly small while I wait for an opportunity to do something big or impressive?  I recently watched a movie in which a wife and husband fought about his work/life balance (or imbalance).  She presented him with a hypothetical scenario: The husband learns that his wife is being held hostage at the same time a bomb has been placed at the building where he works.  He can either save her life or the building, but not both.  The husband responds angrily that this is a ridiculous situation that would never happen.  She replies, “But that is exactly my point.  It is never one big dramatic choice.  It is little, vague situations every single day and you’re either there or you’re not.”  It occurs to me that I treat my relationship with God the same way.  I keep getting distracted by demands of my career, other commitments or my own desires, when I should be available for the little, vague situations that God places before me every single day.  I keep thinking that I will get around to doing something impressive, when in reality I am called to give what I have with the awareness that God will do the impressive, miraculous work.  I may one day be called to do something on a grand scale, but any success that results will not be because I am self-sufficient, it will be because God is my sufficiency.

The famous acting teacher Konstantin Stanislavski once said, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”  A successful play or movie requires every performer, including the person with only one line, to give his or her very best.  With God, the small parts are extremely important, because those are the individuals He uses to work miracles, just like the starving widow who fed Elijah.  I don’t have to wait for something major.  I don’t have to wait until I am down to my last two coins or the last bit of food in the cupboard.  I do have to give myself fully and completely to God.

As you consider this, I invite you to listen to These Alone Are Enough, Dan Schutte’s beautiful song based on the Prayer of St. Ignatius.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook