I wrote the following yesterday in about five minutes, hence its stream-of-consciousness vibe. It is also a tad on the melodramatic side but, then again, what’s a post here at Lisa writes… without a touch of melodrama? I offer the (mostly) unedited version of my thoughts now, as I’m about to walk out the door, as a reminder both to myself and to you, the reader, of the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ. He is worthy of all!
It’s Monday and Bible study begins tomorrow so I am cramming and scribbling and deleting and printing and worrying and… Well, you get the picture. I’m at the point where I am wondering if I have indeed lost my mind and who in the world do I think I am and whether or not it is too late to call the whole thing off and run away somewhere. Or go shopping.
Oh, I kid. I’m really not quite that neurotic. Much.
I’ve been thinking about the widow in Mark 12:41-44, she who offered her two small coins, “everything she had,” Jesus tells His disciples. As I ponder her gift I wonder if she felt foolish in the meagerness of her offering. I wonder if she doubted the effect of her contribution. I wonder if she was ashamed. Did she think those two cents might be better spent elsewhere?
My teaching, my offering as it were, is meager compared to some. My class numbers in the tens (on a good day), not the hundreds. Today I print off a course outline to pass out to the ladies in attendance tomorrow. I print it on white paper, in black Cambria, no cardstock in glossy three color font. We have no waiting lists, no online registration, no slick stage design, no bound workbooks. It’s just me, a podium, the ladies the Lord sends our way, and the Bible.
It is, in a manner of speaking, everything I have. I don’t mean financially nor do I mean this is my only outlet of ministry. But I do know that once ten o’clock rolls around tomorrow morning and I open my Bible and I begin to speak I will have, as well as I can know my own heart, given everything I had in faithful stewardship of this teaching privilege. Like the widow, I do not give out of my abundance. I teach out of my abject need.
Hardly a day has passed in months that I haven’t given some thought to Bible study in general or to the prophets in particular. I’ve been a little stressed and slightly on the neurotic side, as I’ve already confessed. Here’s a weird side effect to my neuroses: I become paranoid. I am easily offended. I compare my offering. I wish for something greater, bigger, more. My ambition grows increasingly personal, more about me and my reputation, less about the Lord and His purposes, His glory.
Jesus saw the widow and He saw her small coins dropping in the box. He saw her sacrifice and He commended it. Did she hear His words of esteem? I imagine her joy as she left the temple, that joy known by the true disciple who gives everything, all she has, in love for her Savior. In Philippians 3, Paul writes that he counts everything he had as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. I like to imagine she embraced this surrender, this worth, this joy. In my mind she runs eagerly to the offering box and laughs as she gladly gives all. I think that because I want to be that.
I love teaching. All my neuroses are, I think, twisted (and sinful) versions of this passion. I am, I’ll freely confess, engaging in slightly overblown melodrama as I ponder quitting and running away. The truth is that as I much I sometimes dread teaching I love it that much and more. I love Jesus. I love His Word. That the Lord would grant me this privilege, this responsibility, this joy, all that plus a group of godly women willing to come alongside, well, it is overwhelming to me. Tomorrow I lay my offering, all I have, before Him in joyous surrender. I will gladly give all.