The story in the gospel of the widow with her 2 coins has started to come alive to me recently as I have traveled around visiting some of our families. One of my favorite parts of my ministry and talking with missionary moms. There are a lot of challenges that missionary moms face. Sure there is a lot carried by missionary dads as well, but I just have a soft spot for those moms. One of the challenges for missionary moms is that there is no separation between home, work and ministry. The second challenge is that daily life takes so much more time. So life becomes this big balancing act. It is all the little things that add up making life crazy. It is the clothes that need hung up on the line rather than just thrown in the dryer, it is the water that needs to get filtered so that it is drinkable, it is the flour, rice and beans that all need sifting, it the home schooling that needs grading, it is the floors that need sweeping everyday, and I could go on and on. There are so many pieces of life claiming our time. On top of that we didn’t come to West Africa to just live here, we came with a mission in mind. Living life is not enough, there are people around us who are lost. Yet, honestly, there is so much work to be done before relationships are even a possibility in a new context. So how does that all fit together? That is the challenge that so many missionary moms face daily.
6 months ago I visited a mom who was struggling with just that. Since arriving back to the field she had not been able to start language study because of the challenges she was facing just managing life at home. When we sat down together and talked I told her to throw out the ideal picture of how she would do language learning and lets figure out how to make something possible with what she had. I encouraged her to not wait until she had 10 dollar bills to give, but to take the 2 coins she had to and give that to God. Because even with 2 fish and 5 loaves God managed to feed the 5000, so it is not the quantity of what we have to give, but it is a question of whether we are ready to give all we have.
This past month I had the privilege of visiting her again. My heart was singing in this visit, because she had given her 2 coins. Her greatest commodity right now is time and energy. She had limited of that to spare, but she had given what she had. God was taking that and blessing it. The progress she was making was remarkable when compared with the time she was able to put in. There are times that we can write out a formula for what needs to happen to reach a goal and then there are times that God rips that up and says, “Give me what you got and I will work with that”. She had given the little time that she had and from that we could see the fruits of progress in language and most importantly in the relationships she was forming with people around her.
I left that trip, challenged to reflect back on my own life and ministry. In the story of the widow Jesus didn’t look at the quantity of coins that the widow was giving, but at the fact that it was all she had. The gift is most precious to God is when we give what we have even when is seems like nothing much. My tendency is to wait until I have more to give, or until I have feel more together, but I am learning that I need to just give what I have and let God take care of the rest.