The Widow’s Mite And Your Constant Guilt

***this post is from my friend Grant Pemberton, pastor of Vineyard Nashville***

How do you even have time to read this right now? Aren’t there about a million other things you should or could be doing? Maybe you have kids with endless homework assignments and activities, a project at work that you are behind on, 25 unanswered emails and texts waiting in your inbox, dinner with friends that you should be excited about (but can’t even imagine having 12 people in your house right now), and the list could go on and on.

We are all just so busy. But worse than that, we are constantly guilty for being so busy. We imagine that somewhere, for some people, life is slower and people are drinking sweet tea on their front porch. But for all of us normal people, we are just happy if we can make it into the bed before 11 p.m. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that there has never been another period in history when time was more valuable, and as we know, time is money.

In the ever increasing busyness, it becomes harder and harder for us to find time to spend in prayer and reading the Word. It’s not that we don’t think it’s important; we know that this is vital to growth in our faith, but finding an hour of “quiet time” each day is a task akin to climbing Everest for some of us. Jesus actually speaks of this in Luke 21:1-4.  If you grew up attending Sunday School, you may recognize this story as “The Widow’s Mite”. Jesus was with his disciples, and as was his way, he used the day’s activities to teach them a vital lesson of the Kingdom of God. The story in Luke 21:1-4 goes like this:

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

So many times we can read this verse and only apply it to money, but this is missing a vital key of the Kingdom:

The widow gave all she had.

It wasn’t the amount that mattered, but the fact that she actually gave “out of her poverty”. If this applies to finances, then how much more does it apply to our time?

You can’t give God what you don’t have, and some days we don’t have an hour. But even just five minutes out of a busy schedule given to sit at Jesus’ feet is worth more than hours of time for someone with nothing more to do. Be free of the pressure to spend time you don’t have in diligent study and prayer. Condemnation and guilt aren’t fruits of the Spirit, but of the enemy!

I believe Jesus would tell you to relax, and realize that his ability to fill and sustain you does not depend upon your amount of time that you spend reading the Bible each day. In fact, that is the message of the Gospel–you don’t have to do anything. He’s already done it for you! Jesus speaks directly to this in Matthew 11:28-30.

The Message translation says it like this,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Those words from Jesus are for you today. Give him what you can, and rest easy in the knowledge that He is more than able to take a little and turn it into abundance!