I watched a segment of 60 Minutes on television recently that was featuring some of the 400 billionaires who reside in the United States. The focus was on those who had accepted Warren Buffett’s challenge of giving away at least half of their money. Just the concept of “billionaire” is incredible to me and I wonder, as did Buffett on that occasion, why someone would ever “need” more than five hundred million dollars.
Today Jesus was observing some wealthy people “putting their offerings into the treasury.” (LK 21: 1-4) He noticed a woman who was most likely unremarkable by most standards. He singled her out because, unlike the others who gave out of their surplus (which was also a good thing), she gave from her poverty. In the words of Jesus, she had offered “her whole livelihood.” The message is clear and probably one that most of us have heard from childhood. Today I think it’s worth repeating. It isn’t even necessarily about what we put on the collection plate in church. It’s all about how we live our lives and what we are willing to offer of ourselves to God and the world. How do we open our hands and our hearts to those in need of us? And this week another question rises up for me: what is the level of our gratitude for the gifts – large and/or small – that we have received through the generosity of others?