We give some money (even a “mite” or two pennies) to a needy person or to the church but we give it out of our wealth. It still has some value to God. It still pleases Him more than NOT giving money to the poor.
But let´s say that we give money to the poor and it was given out of our poverty or it impoverished us in some serious way. It was given sacrifically.
That pleases God immensely.
It demonstrates the value we give to obeying God out of love for Him. We demonstrate that one thing (giving sacrificially) is more important to us than another (our legitimate needs). There is great reward both now and forever in pleasing God and seeking His anointing.
If that is so, why would we ask God to miraculously allieviate our chosen suffering and sacrifice? Why would we complain about our chosen circumstances? Why would we want God to take away our “stewardship” reward by giving us back the very thing we gave up in the first place?
That´s not to say that He won´t. He might. He might not. We can count on God´s providence (both ultimately and in this life) but He does not promise to make everything easy and convenient.
And there is no direct one-to-one relationship between what we are willing to lose for His sake and what He promises to give us.
In fact, quite the opposite. His providence is on His terms and for His purposes. He is willing to allow us to suffer, especially when we volunteer to do so, for the sake of learning the value of the desert as the context for our service to Him.
Yes, we lose our life in order to gain it but the two are not the same. One is life without Him and the other is life with Him. We lose life without Him in order to gain life with Him.
They are worlds apart. And should be.
That´s not to say that we shouldn´t work hard (by God´s grace and always with His help) to better ourself and soften the sacrifice if we can. That is our creational responsibility at all times. We are not masochists after all.
The point is that we often ask Him to take away the very thing that is valuable – our chosen, purposeful sacrifice for others in loving obedience to God (especially for those who do not deserve it).
Or did we do it for a “financial” reward? A “physical” blessing? Tit for tat. A Divine investment so to speak. Ridiculous. Insulting. What would our spouses say if we tried that on them? What happened to love? What happened to pleasing God (or our spouses) just for the joy of it? What happened to the wonder of bringing joy to the ones we love? Just because we can?
That is the wonder of the widow´s mite, that even the most lowly, the most oppressed, the poorest of the poor, has the ability to bring pleasure and joy to the Creator of the Universe.
No doubt she went home and suffered real hardship for her sacrifice. No doubt that is just what she expected even if it wasn´t what she wanted. She wasn´t trying to buy God´s favor, she was grateful for already having it.
The question is, what price are we willing to pay to please the God who loved us enough to die for us?
Wasn´t that the whole point, after all, to transform us into people who actually want to please God, just because we now can, because of the new relationship we have with God in Jesus Christ? Isn´t that the purpose of our very existence? Created for His pleasure?
That, after all, is the miracle. That we would have the faith, the desire and the opportunity to please God with our actions, intentions and motivations.
That is the miracle. That we would be willing to pay a price, a sacrificial price, even to the daily (and perhaps even physical) losing of our lives to gain the abundant life, the joy of the Lord, which is our ever abiding strength.
That is normal, radical, but uncommon, Christianity.
The Desert Warrior
Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.