- Gold is constant, beautiful, and expendable.
- Frankincense is a resin from a tree and could be burned for its aroma.
- Myrrh was used for incense, perfume, and medicine.
I love the story about the widow's offering.
"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others." ~ Mark 12:41-43 (NIV)
Oh, my friends, she gave sacrificially! She gave from her heart!
Sometimes I feel that's all I have to give. When I feel guilty for not spending money that I don't have on gifts people don't need, I think of this poor widow above and give what I can. When I'm tapped out monetarily I then go in to Martha-mode.
You know Martha. She had the ultimate gift of hospitality, except for one small fit she pitched, but who among us hasn't gone into a tizzy at one time or another? I picture Martha baking, taking food to widows and orphans, taking the time to cook for family and friends and hosting many get-together's at her home.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." ~ 1 John 4:7 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)
The Greek word for the first and last words of love in the verse above is agapaō, which means:
1) of persons
a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
The Greek word for the second word love mentioned in the verse above is agapē, which means:
1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
2) love feasts
There are several ways I can show my love this month and each month that follows without having to spend it in gold, so to speak.
- I can sit with my 85 year old grandmother and assure her that she has enough pajamas in her drawer and remind her she is out of school. She has Alzheimers.
- I can babysit a 14 month old grandson and a 2 month old grandson for my overly tired bonus daughter when she's operating on zero sleep for 3 days straight.
- I can be an hour late for work so I can go by my Dad's just to be there for him when he has his pacemaker appointment over the phone.
- I can bake cookies and bring them to work for coworkers to munch on in the afternoon.
- I can hold the hand of a friend who misses her sister and her daddy.
- I can listen to my husband's fears and concerns regarding Tourette's and the male hereditary rate.
- I can bake a cake and take it to the in-laws for no reason at all.
- I can pour out my heart before the Lord on behalf of family, friends, and this crazy mixed up world and it's issues.
When things like car repairs and doctor bills deplete your financial resources, don't feel that material gifts are all you have. Be willing to put the time and love into giving this Christmas season. Just as the wise men brought their gifts to Christ, and just as the widow gave all the money she had, we can give what we have...the sacrifices of heart and time.
"For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." ~ 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)
So...how much does love weigh?
As much as you choose to let it. You must be willing to express it for it to become.
Let's let our love be a mirror, reflecting Christ's love for us this Christmas season. Throughout the month we will no doubt have opportunities to spend. Whether it's in gold or time, let us spend it willingly and with love.
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." ~ 1 John 4:9 (NIV)