Remember the story of the widow and her two coins? Both Mark 12 and Luke 21 write about her. Jesus watched people in line to give their offering at the temple. Many gave a great deal of money. But when He watched this poor widow give two coins He said that she gave more than all the others. Jesus said that they all “gave out of their wealth but she gave from her poverty.”
I had an appointment in Baton Rouge this week and I was early. And I was hungry. So pulled into Waffle House to kill both birds with one stone. I took the last booth. I should have sat at the counter and kept the booth available for a larger crowd. In fact I kept looking at the chair I should have sat in but I didn’t want to sit there. I didn’t want to watch them cook my food or any food for that matter. I wanted to believe that my omelet was coming straight from the organic farm in the back of the restaurant cooked in the highest quality of cold pressed coconut oil. While I day dreamed, an elderly gentleman took the very seat at the counter that I should have taken. We both ate and finished our meals almost simultaneously. We got our checks and got up at the same time. He walked over to my booth in his torn, dirty t-shirt and pants and his dingy shoes. He took my ticket from my hand and said, “I would like to take care of this for you.” And my jaw dropped and I stuttered out a very incoherent, “uhhhhhh that’s okay, I’ve got it.” And he replied, “I would really like to do this.” And he left our waitress a $10 tip for his $10 meal and walked to the counter. The sweet lady saw her $10 bill and said, “Sir!! Thank you!.” He nodded and walked to the cashier, paid our bills and walked to the door. I ran back to leave my own tip and caught up to him. This time I said to him, “Thank you very much sir. That was extremely kind.” to which he replied “Have a blessed day.”
I got in my car and cried. Naturally. What else can you do? That was an uncomfortable position to be in. First of all, I am used to being in control. When Control Freaks Anonymous has their meetings, I am their leader. Secondly, after watching this sweet soul hobble back to his old and rusty car I knew that he gave from his poverty. I should have bought his breakfast. I should have paid his electricity bill. And more. Instead he bought mine. He wished me a blessed day but I wonder if he knew that he blessed my day? And turned it upside down on its head at the same time.
My budget is tight these days. The price of oil is too low and the price of kids is too high. Sure wish those two elements could meet in the middle somewhere. But torn shirt and jeans with rusty car tight? Not even close. How much do I give? I’m not even sure if I can say I give from my “wealth.” God loves to mess with us doesn’t He? We are feeling the pinch from a tough economy so what adjustments are we all making? Cutting back purchases, trimming vacations and putting off a new car for a year or two. While many are feeling the punch from a tough life.
Every year our organization Lane’s Promise tries to pull off our SPARK campaign at Christmas. SPARK stands for Spreading Peace through Acts of Random Kindness. Our goal is to SPARK a chain reaction of love, peace and kindness. The past two years got away from us but this year we put together a Lenten effort. Most SPARKing actually occurred during Holy Week. By doing this during Lent, our purpose was to give what we can because Jesus gave all He had. We put out an email blast asking for volunteers and got quite a few. We gave out $100 bills to each family and they matched it with their own funds…however much they felt comfortable with. I have been blown away by their creativity.
Please visit our website http://www.lanespromise.org or our Facebook page for the stories. And I hope that it SPARKs something in you to give in your own way. Not just during Holy Week. Not just at Christmas.
After being the very unexpected recipient of someone else’s kindness, I can attest to the fact that it does indeed SPARK a chain reaction. I still sit in awe that someone with less than me gave so freely to me. Oh the blessings and abundance that await him when he meets our maker! And I pray for the opportunity to share an omelet with him one day at God’s table. There will be no bill that day because Jesus already paid the tab.