Are you unable to serve God in the way you want? Have you ever felt like you have almost nothing to offer God and others?
I have. My chronic illnesses mean I have days and in the past years, where I can do almost nothing but lay in bed. At my worst, I depended on my family to bring my food to my bedside, to wash my hair, and to push me in my wheelchair. Almost all I could offer God and others was a testimony of trusting Him as laid very weak and sick in bed. My health has since improved, allowing me enough mental focus to pray for others and the strength to write encouraging cards and to run this blog, but still, compared to my healthy friends, I can’t give much.
It can be discouraging to be able to contribute so little, but what does God say about my seemingly small gifts? Let’s look at Mark 12:41-44.
"And He [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And He called his disciples to Him and said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.'”
In her book, But God, Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You if I Were Healthy?, Esther Smith explains, "Jesus looked at the widow’s small offering and saw anything but insignificance. He was greatly pleased with her sacrifice, despite the small quantity she had to give. Contrary to the ways of this world, Jesus sees service as an act of sacrifice, not a competition to see who can give the most. Just as the widow gave out of a poverty of financial ruin, in the same way, those who live with debilitating chronic pain give out of a poverty of health."
Friend, like me, you may have an illness that keeps you from offering much, but just give God what you can from your limited energy and resources. In the eyes of Jesus, your encouraging note and prayer for someone hurting may be an even bigger sacrifice than someone else's mission trip. Jesus counts not what you give but what you keep, and He knows what you have to offer is different than a healthy person. After all, He’s a God who counts two copper coins as a precious gift.