My mom got a speeding ticket last week. When she got home, she shared that she had even seen a police car and reminded herself to slow down, but her speed crept up again and another cop pulled her over. I can fully relate to this experience — I drive with a heavy foot. While my mom and I reflected on her getting the speeding ticket, we both noted that rather than staying at or below the speed limit, we drive on the border between fast and too fast. We want to stay on that boundary line between over the speed limit and ticket-warranting speed, instead of staying within the lawful and safe range.
In Mark 12 Jesus witnesses the inverse of that mentality. Verses 41-44 state, “41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.'”
Rather than giving just enough, the bare minimum, the woman gave all that she had. And Jesus honored her for it.
Recently, I have heard some pastors discussing spirituality in terms of insurance. They claim that we do the bare minimum of some of our spiritual practices in an attempt to reassure ourselves that we have attained heaven insurance. But let’s be honest: saying a few words, or even running to an altar does not a life with Christ make. It’s the transformation of our hearts that aligns us with the Spirit and will of God — and that requires all of us. Not a one-time gift, or a bedtime prayer, but the continuous rhythm of a life with Christ that centers our hearts, our spirits, and our minds on the One who offers eternal life now and forever.
So may we not walk through our Sabbath today like my mother and I drive, speeding over the limit, while holding back just enough to not get caught; or like those who go through their minimal spiritual practices just to reassure themselves of God’s favor, while never actually devoting themselves to follow after Christ. Instead, may we resemble the poor widow, having the confidence and strength to give all of ourselves to worship the One who remains with us always, to the very end of the age.