As we sat in the parking lot of the local fast food restaurant, tension was brewing in our red minivan, the anticipation building with each passing moment. Son number two, at the tender age of fifteen, was officially entering the work force today; this would be the first day of many days to follow, and he was in full panic mode. As a parent, my heart was heavy for him and the fear that he was experiencing, but in our home, teenagers worked hard, contributed to the household, helped purchase and maintain their automobiles, and invested in their post-high-school education, just as their parents did when we were youngsters. The work-place apprehension eventually waned, and a young man gradually learned employee responsibility and financial prowess. But Christmas was soon upon us, and an act of love displayed by this new member of the work force would live on in my heart forever.
I always giggle when I try to recreate in my imagination a mental picture of what unfolded during that first Christmas shopping season so long ago. A young man, armed with his own hard-earned money, was on a quest, a quest to surprise his momma with the perfect Christmas gift. I can visualize him standing at the jewelry counter of our local JC Penney, trying to negotiate himself through the confusing, expensive world of women’s glittery accessories, rounding down on the perfect statement of love. He was successful on his maiden voyage of gifting, and two decades later, a dainty silver-gold watch still graces my wrist. Yes, the face has been scratched and marred over the years, batteries have been replaced, bands have been repaired, but the love remains. My son has repeatedly offered to purchase a new watch, but I cannot bear to replace this one, for it remains a constant reminder of a young son’s love.
What parent’s heart hasn’t melted at the sight of a bouquet of wilted dandelions, a special pebble from the driveway, a hand-drawn work of art, or a gift from the local dollar store? We cherish those modest, heartfelt actions, not based to the value of the gift, but due to the fact that these are the attempts of a young heart to share love with another. If our human spirits can be so overwhelmed by the expression of affection from our child, imagine the heavenly Father’s joy at our feeble attempts to prove our devotion to Him.
“Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury” located at the door of Herod’s temple. The Savior was not there by accident or coincidence, He purposefully placed Himself within view of the treasury box, the collection plate of Jesus’ day. The treasury boxes were huge fixtures, resembling the speaker of an antique gramophone. Worshipers would cast their coins into a funnel-like opening which would then direct the coins down into a receptacle that would store the monies. Jesus was scrutinizing the inward motives of some ostentatious worshipers known as zingers, those who would bring as many coins as they could carry, stand at a distance, and cast their money into the trumpet-like opening, allowing the sounds of those coins to echo for any bystanders to hear. But this facade of generosity performed by these proud folks did not impress the King of kings, for “they did cast in of their abundance.” Instead, the actions of a widow woman would touch the divine heart of the Master, as she humbly “threw in two mites,” the smallest denomination minted in that era, barely enough to purchase a crumb of bread, but “all that she had,” her entire livelihood. The widow’s gift was her confirmation that all that she possessed, everything she had, was the Lord’s. She loved her God and wanted to express that love.
A mere two chapters later, an unnamed woman at Bethany would anoint the head of Jesus with the contents of “an alabaster box of ointment…very precious.” I know of her special gift because Jesus recorded that encounter for me as “a memorial of her.” But in contrast to the widow’s offering, this gift was expensive, costing nearly a year’s wages. But these diametrically opposed gifts are tied together by a common bond, for they both exemplified humble, abounding love for the Master, a willingness to shower the Lamb of God with all the love these two women could muster.
We serve a Father Who loves us with such an unspeakable fervor that He “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He “manifested” His love by offering “his only begotten Son” in our stead, so that we too, can become His child through the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God. He is so deserving of our affection, our love, our devotion, and our sacrifice. If a simple watch means so much to me, how much more does my heavenly Father cherish my humble acts of love? May I learn from two women who gave out of an abundance of their hearts, and as a result, touched the heart of the Savior.
I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3486-62841b75bd071' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3486&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3486-62841b75bd071' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3486-62841b75bd071' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>