Pennies for Politics

I’m going to start off today’s post with a passage from the Bible.

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people putting their gifts into a collection box.  Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two pennies.  “I assure you,” he said, “this poor widow has given more than all of the rest of them.  For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”  Luke 21 1-4 (NLT)

The lesson of widow’s mite (as the above passage is often known) is found both in the book of Luke and in Mark.  I want you to consider the implications.  Although we don’t know the exact amount, the passage seems to imply that, in terms of monetary value the rich people in the town gave far more than the widow could ever hope to give.  And yet, Jesus tells us that she has given more than they.  I know it would be tempting to praise the rich far more than the widow.  After all, the Temple could make much greater use of the larger sum of money than two measly pennies.  But then the point would be lost.  Although we are told that the rich could afford to give far more, they chose an offering that they wouldn’t really miss, a small portion of their vast wealth.  It was as if the rich were saying that they only valued God enough to give him a bit of their excess.  The widow by comparison gave two coins, but it everything that she had.  She had so little to offer however chose to give it all away for the sake of her faith.  If we backtrack in Luke, we find another related passage, “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given,” Luke 12:48 (NLT).  I think that the message is clear.  If we truly believe in God and his commandments, we should free give of our possessions and ourselves.  Regardless of whether we are rich or poor, the spirit in which a gift is given is far more important that the actual amount itself.

Although I know that some people don’t like to mix religion with politics, I hope you’ll permit me to draw a few parallels using the above verse in modern political thought.  Through much hardship and struggle, our forbearers suffered much to claim for us the God-given freedoms that we enjoy today.  Now a portion of our liberty has been lost over the years and, if we do nothing, we will lose far more.  I know that a lot of you are quite busy and many of you do not have much money to throw around freely.  Nevertheless, I wonder how much you value your freedom.  Will you fight for it?  Then will you donate your time and your money to make certain they are secure?  And if you do, will your gift be just a small portion…time and money that you will not miss?   I know that most political organizations make a big deal out of high dollar donors, but, in my opinion, those who truly believe in the cause and donate until it hurts are of far greater value.

So what will it be?  Are your God and your freedoms important enough to offer your first fruits?  Or will they be a mere afterthought, assuming you give anything at all?  Now, I’ll be the first to admit due to recent hardship that I have fallen short myself.  Nevertheless, regardless of how rich or poor we are, like the widow, we must be willing to give our pennies and/or our hours for our religion and our politics.  Otherwise, we show through our actions (or lack there of) that we neither value nor deserve them.

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