Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Things Are Thine; No Gift Have We, Lord of All Gifts, to Offer Thee:

shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus observed those who were making offerings of money in the temple (mark 12:41-44). He saw the wealthy give large amounts, but among those in the crowd was a poor widow. after seeing the widow's meager offering, Jesus called His disciples to Him, and commented that, even though the rich made much larger gifts, the widow's gift was much greater. The gifts of the rich hardly made a dent in their great wealth, but the widow gave "all she had to live on" (mark 12:44).

this teaching of Jesus caused me to think about our present economic situation. the very soul of the united states is being determined by the actions of those we've elected. we have on the one hand large numbers of our people who are jobless--good, honest people with families who are turning to charity to sustain them, who are losing the homes they've worked so hard to buy, who want to work and will take the most menial jobs in order to provide for their families. we have thousands of well-educated college graduates who've invested large sums to acquire their educations, often financing their educations by borrowing money, who cannot find work. on the other hand, we have many wealthy individuals and families who are untouched by the economic problems of the country. their wealth continues to grow, and their allies in government are arguing that to ask them to contribute more to alleviate the suffering of the remainder of the country amounts to "class warfare." Large corporations are hoarding huge sums that could be used to put people to work, and their allies in government argue that these "job creators" should not be required to use their resources for the common good.

for me, the implications of Jesus' words to His disciples is clear. those who have great wealth also have great responsibilities. from those who have much, much is required. the small gift of the poor widow represented a great sacrifice on her part, while the large gifts of the rich required no sacrifice. their remaining wealth was more than enough to take care of their needs, while the widow had little left to provide the necessities of life.

my prayer today is that we see the implications of Jesus' teaching. we are obligated to care for one another, and those who have it in their power to give of their abundance to alleviate the suffering of those who are hurting are obligated by the gospel of Jesus to do so. this teaching applies not only to our private lives, but to our public lives as well.

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