We were in the airport waiting for our plane yesterday when I saw my 3 year old daughter do something truly amazing. I would frequently give her pocket change whenever we buy something with cash.
Yesterday it was 5 pennies and a nickel. 10 cents. I gave it to her and told her to put it in her pocket. As we were walking down the different gates in the airport, we saw this big transparent box with money in it for the ronald mcdonald house. As we walked by it, my girl says to me that she wanted to put the money in there.
As she put one penny at a time, I watched in amazement that she learned something about giving... or maybe it just reminded her of her piggy bank back home. In any case she put the five pennies in the box and was going to put her nickel as well. In a split moment I asked her... are you sure you want to put ALL your money in there? Without hesitation, she said yes. She gave ALL that she had. It reminded me of the old parable Jesus taught about the widow's mite, in which a poor widow gave all that she had and it was more than what the rich people gave because she gave out of her poverty whereas the others gave out of their abundance.
In making a budget, we are designating our money to certain items in order to reduce unnecessary expenses. In so doing we are saving a bit and accumulating wealth. How does being faithful (and wise) with money reconcile with having faith in God?
My daughter gave all that she had because she knew her daddy would provide for her, would get dinner for her and would provide for her. She probably didn't understand the full extent of putting money into that box... but she did know she would not get it back.
Jesus praised the widow for trusting God even in her poverty. What can we learn from this? In many ways we are just like the poor widow. We may not be materially poor, but poor spiritually, poor emotionally, poor physically. Faith in God means that we recognize our own poverty and that God has made us rich through his gift to us.
Life then is not merely an accumulation of things, of financial reports (net worth), degrees, cars, experiences or any other thing, but it is God giving us an incredible gift so that we can share it with others and in so doing we will know God, know others community, and even know ourselves better.