REV. DR. KENDALL SCHAEFFER

Genesis 44:1-18, 32-34; Mark 12:28-44

Genesis 44:1-4:  Then [Joseph commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. 

As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 

Mark 12:41-44:  And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 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. 44 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.”

A second journey by Joseph’s brothers to Egypt for provision brought a new set of problems. Food was scarce. Companionship was important during these journeys as conversation and support from others helped keep focus.

Upon arrival, fear confronted the brothers. They knew they had not done wrong but evidence indicated otherwise. They brought the money that had been returned in their sacks plus the money needed for provision again. This time, sent away, not only was the money in their sack, Joseph’s private drinking cup was in Benjamin’s sack. The brothers are guilt-ridden. Judah would offer to the substitute for Benjamin to spare his father from further anguish. It was all he could do.

By the same token, a widow journeyed to the Temple. She placed her offering into the treasury box. She did not give much in comparison to others, but proportionately she gave her all. She was willing to offer two lepta, small copper coins, worth about one fourth of a cent combined! With this gone, what options did she have? She was dependent upon those around her to care for her; she was dependent upon God for her care. She offered all she had. It was all she could do.

In so many ways, we do not differ from the brothers or this widow. We have fears, we are guilt-ridden for our actions. Our supplies may be running short and we have no more to give, be it financial, of our time or energy, or whatever else we may have. We give it our all, we say, but do we? Don’t we, too often, hold back a little in reserve, “just in case”? 

The journey we take may be long or short. Our companions may include many, a few, or we may be by ourselves. Maybe we have been encouraged to shut ourselves into our own homes or maybe we meet with others. No matter what is before us, there is always one thing that is important to remember: Rely on God to see you through. He promises: I will never leave you; nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). That is a promise to which we might always hold.

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You give us so much. We do not realize the abundance with which we live. Help us, as good stewards of Your grace and the mysteries entrusted to us, to be wise in disbursement and gracious in assisting those near to us, in both our community and beyond. When we feel overwhelmed by our guilt for failing, remind us of the forgiveness won by Your Son when He gave His life upon the cross for us. Let us remember to give as we have received, forgiving one another for the sake of, and through, Jesus, Your Son, in Whose name we pray. Amen.

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