Today at Meeting, an elderly widow sheepishly handed me a $10 bill for the Cambridge Bail and Legal Defense Fund *: “I wish I could give more,” she whispered as she handed me the money.
So, of course, I thought about the widow’s mites story (Generally this Bible story is called just that, employing an old word meaning coins of little value):
Once [Jesus] was standing opposite the temple treasury, watching as people dropped their money into the chest. Many rich people were giving large sums. Presently there came a poor widow who dropped in two tiny coins, together worth a farthing. He called his disciples to him. “I tell you this,” he said: “This poor widow had given more than the others; for those others who have given had more than enough, but she, with less than enough, has given all that she had to live on.”
Now, to be truthful, the Meeting widow is not destitute—but, nevertheless, like most old people, has to be very careful with her money. So her contribution feels like what Jesus was talking about: that a modest gift, donation, contribution given in love and with an open heart—yet with some hardship—is beyond price.
The widow’s selfless act this morning also makes me think about another Bible passage: Isaiah 61: 1:
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the humble, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to those in prison.
Maybe the Meeting widow’s heard this good news, too?
* This is a fund started by Friends Meeting at Cambridge’s Prison Fellowship Committee so that we can help those in need whom we’ve met while doing prison ministry. Currently, we are raising $ to pay the legal costs for a man in prison so he can appeal his life sentence. [See my February 2, 2011 entry]