We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Mark Graves.
“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.“
I asked my wife a question recently. I’ll be honest this can be a dangerous proposition on some topics. My wife and I were foster parents for a dozen years and she worked in the social services for another 10. So, when I ask her some questions, I am prepared to hear far more than I bargained for. My question to her was this, “What does courage look like for you?” Seems like an innocent question I thought. Her answer, in both tenor and heat, stunned me.
So, I ask you, “What does courage look like?” Is it large, is it small, does it happen in front of others, does it involve guns or sports or crossfit? Based on my wife’s answer I rethought and came to one specific passage.
In Mark and Luke, Jesus and the disciples are sitting in front of the temple. The place where people came to put in their offerings. Some were putting in large extravagant gifts that were obviously showy. Then during that a widow comes up and puts in a small, incrementally tiny gift. Jesus, points to her and says she gave differently. She gave ‘everything that she had to live on.’ That verse has always stunned me. What does courage look like? To me that widow. Why are those who are financially challenged so generous?
When my family went to Indonesia to visit our Compassion child we were stunned over and over by the generosity of people who had so little. On the day we visited the family they showed us the table of food they had prepared for us. It was laden with food and showed a generous heart we knew they could not afford. See, we came there out of our largesse and extra. They gave to us out of their lack.
That meal cooked in a kitchen with no running water and a one burner propane stove cost them a month’s worth of food for their family. Yet they gave it. That is the face of courage. See that is why my wife’s answer silenced me.
“What does courage look like hon?” It looks like the single mom who has little food living in a rent- controlled apartment getting up every day and caring for her children. It looks like the child who gets picked on by bullies every day still trudging to school when there is no-one to stand up for them. It looks like the teen woman who stands up to her family and ceases her silence about abuse. It looks like the person willing to give, when there seems to be little if any hope for a change tomorrow, or the day after.
What does courage look like for you? Is it big and shiny? Is it small and fragile? For me courage is my wife, who went to work every day with hope in her heart, and gave fragments of it to those who had little. That my friends is courage. Are you courageous today?
Lord, lead me to see those around me today who need a little bit of my courage. Let me shower fragments of my hope to those around me who have need of some. Help me see the courage around me in the everyday normal. Give me eyes and a heart to see beyond my own walls.
Take some time to think of areas in your life where you can exhibit more courage. Spend time journaling about areas where you’re holding back and ways you can change that.
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