When Nothing Is All You Have to Give

BY: TALYSA MCMANUS

EMAILTalysa@comcast.net

BIBLE TEXT:  Mark 12:41-44:  ”Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.’”

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Almost daily we are met with the rhythmic lulling of the enemy’s song. “You are not smart enough, talented enough, or knowledgeable enough. You will surely fail so why even try? No one will listen. Your dreams are too big. Someone else could do a better job. They are better qualified. You have nothing to offer.” Before we know it, the enemy is conducting an orchestra of fear and doubt and we take a front row seat for the show. We buy into the lie that we have nothing to give so we give just that…nothing. We keep holding out for the moment in which we will be ::fill in the blank:: enough. Our prideful desire to be enough by the world’s standards, and in the eyes of others, renders us ineffective for Kingdom work. In this scripture we see that nothing is exactly what God wants us to give. Nothing is willing. It is humble. It is broken and poured out. It is emptied…easily filled. When our nothing is placed in the hands of God, solely dependent on His power, it becomes the most amazing something we could imagine. It is in our weakness that He is proven strong, in our brokenness that He can move, in our humility that He is glorified. When all we have to give is nothing, it is enough.

PERSONAL APPLICATION:
Recently my husband and sixteen year old son were in Bolivia with several other fellow Lifers. While there my husband spent the majority of his time with three young ladies that ranged in age from 11-15. In an effort to break the language barrier and connect with them, he would do things such as ask them their names, how old they were, and when their birthday was. They in turn asked him the same things. He told them that his birthday was May 26th. He did not point out the fact that this date was just a few days away. He simply stated the date not thinking much of it at all. A couple of days later, they met him outside with gifts in hand. What they would give would not come from a store. It would not be wrapped in a neat, shiny package wrapped with a bow. It would be unlike any gift he had ever received. Louisa gave a necklace that she can be seen wearing days before in pictures. A simple leather string with a piece of metal on the end stamped “Louisa.”  Alison gave the very watch off of her arm.  Again, she can be seen wearing it in previous photos. Cynthia gave an old paperback Spanish Sci-Fi book. She inscribed “Happy Birthday Adam” in the binding. And there was a scarf infused with the scents of all three girls. These three girls, fatherless with mothers currently in prison, had nothing to give…but they gave anyway. By the world’s standards, these gifts were nothing much. But by God’s standards they were powerful. They came from humble hearts willing to be used. From minds focused on the receiver, not their own selfish pride. In their humility, God would show Himself powerful and our lives would never be the same.

I am immediately reminded of the widow and her offering. Typically, we tend to read this parable and see the lesson in the monetary sacrifice she made. More importantly this is a story about her heart, her reverence for God, and her faithfulness to serve Him. All she had could have easily fit within the palm of her frail hand. Compared to the wealthy elbows she rubbed in the temple, it was nothing. So many around her could have given more and she knew it. She could have waited till no one could see what she was giving and given in secret…ashamed of her offering. She could have waited perhaps till she had “enough” to give and given nothing at all in that moment. She could have even said to herself, “Let the others here give, their pockets are deeper.” and simply walked away leaving behind those seemingly “better suited.” She stood there with nothing, and yet she gave everything. Her nothing was “everything” according to Jesus. The Lord asks us to give all we have. Sometimes, nothing is all we have. And that is OK. Surrendered, our nothing becomes more than enough.

PRAYER: Lord, give us hearts like Alison, Louisa, and Cynthia…a heart like the widow. May we reach deep into our pockets, our schedules, our gifts and talents, our hearts, and surrender those things which mean the most to us. May we trust you with the sacrifice. When opportunities are put before us to serve you financially, through ministry, through our families, through our gift and talents, through simply volunteering where there is a need…may we say yes Lord!  Ready to give all we have to serving you with no regard to the cost or our credentials. Remind us that You are who You say You are. Strong. Trustworthy. Mighty to Save. Worthy of our complete abandonment to Your call on our lives. That you alone fill the gap between our humanity and the supernatural. Remind us that with you our nothing is always something.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Talysa is a thirtysomething Jesus loving, husband adoring, worship leading, photography attempting, coffee guzzling, kid doting and toting, homeschool thriving, wife and mom. She has an obsession with italics, could eat her weight in Nutella, and still gets butterflies when her husband holds her hand. She and her family have been at Life Assembly since May 2011. You can find her sharing with transparency about her weaknesses and His strengths on a regular basis at: www.mcmanuspartyoffive.blogspot.com

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