It wasn’t the lesson I expected to teach.
Sometimes God shows up differently, even after all these years.
All these years I’ve looked at the widow who gave away her last two coins as a lesson in giving it all up to God. And perhaps it still is.
But maybe there’s another lesson, too.
One verse earlier, Mark 12:40, Jesus warned his disciples of scribes who take advantage of widows. So when he points out a widow in Mark 12:41-42, maybe she was proving his point.
Was she being taken advantage of? Could there have been another gift she could have given that wouldn’t have left her a beggar? Was Jesus protecting her by teaching his disciples to stand against those who prey on guilt and take advantage of others?
I read backwards again. Here Jesus gives the greatest commands: love God with everything, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).
This is the new lesson I’m hearing from the story of the widow’s mite:
Don’t take advantage of people. Take advantage of opportunities. To love.
So I gave the girls in class the Five Love Languages Test for Teenagers.
By learning what language they speak most fluently, perhaps they’d take advantage of more opportunities to voice it. To love with it.
What I learned was many of them had gifts of listening, of being there, of donating time to friends in need. That’s giving. That speaks.
It was a lesson I needed to hear. Love languages work two ways—giving and receiving. Perhaps what these girls—including my daughter—give the best is also what they need to receive more from me.
I only have five more weeks of classes with them. And I have so many lessons yet to learn.
I must trust Jesus to give me all I need to give to and receive from them. His loving presence is among us; may I take advantage of every opportunity.
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Do you know what your love language is?