It's a little hard to read from the picture above, but it says, "They gave from their ABUNDANCE . . . She gave ALL she owned, ALL she had to live on". NASB says, They gave "out of their surplus" . . . she gave "all she had to live on." This is Mark's rendition of the story of the widow's offering (Mark 12: 41-44 - and also in Luke 21:1-4) - four short verses that pack a powerful punch! Jesus told the disciples that the widow, in giving 2 tiny coins, gave more than any of the others with their generous gifts.
I sat there pondering these verses. God, is this what you expect of me? Am I to give all I have to live on? What about prudently setting aside for retirement? As I sat with these questions, I realized how challenging that would be for me to do! But as I continued thinking about it, that still small voice whispered to me, "Cheryl, while I might require that of you some day, that is NOT what I'm asking today. Today this concept applies to a different resource - your time!"
OUCH! That morning I had been doing a bit of whining to God (yeah, I know, not my best choice!). But I had been feeling so overwhelmed. My current job, which I believe he has called me to do (at least for now), keeps me SOOO busy - with very little visible return for such an investment of time! Before I had such responsibilities, I used to be much better able to meet the needs of friends and family, making cards, spending time thinking about and making gifts, making meals & entertaining, talking for hours on the phone, . . . . But with this current job, it is SUCH a challenge to do any of that. And yet I KNOW people are the most important, and showing them that I care - and through me that God cares - is an important part of my ministry! I felt challenged enough when wanting to spend quite a bit of time with my daughter to help her celebrate her birthday, but now my husband's aunt is getting to the point where she really needs an assisted living situation - and might need to stay with us while that situation is being worked out. How can I do it all and still have the time for myself that I need to stay sane?
This was the mind-set from which I approached my devotions yesterday morning. Frankly, I was sort of hoping that God would say I could quit my job to have more spare time for these other things. But that wasn't His response. I'm not called to give of my SPARE time. I am called to give ALL of my time - including that which I feel I need to myself in order to stay sane (all I need to live on).
Now, I want to make this clear. I wasn't told to give all my time to other people. I was told to give it to GOD. Despite my selfish tendencies, I know this is indeed the right thing to do, and that as I do so, I will once again find that "His yoke is easy and His burden is light." I just have to be willing to totally let Him set my priorities and have ALL of my time. I KNOW I can trust Him to provide for my needs time-wise, just like He does financially, and spiritually, and in so many ways.
Father, I have heard you, and I choose to follow your direction. Father, I give you my schedule - all of my time. It's not mine anyway. I'm merely a steward for the gift of time you have given me. Father, I seek your guidance for how you choose it to be distributed, and if I forget, or get off track, please remind me and keep me on the right path. As I pray, He whispers to me, "I will, child. I've promised to make your steps secure so your feet won't slip."(Ps 18:36). Thank you, Father!