Following Jesus requires a tremendous amount of trust. Look at the widow in Gospel reading (Luke 21:1-4). How could she give what she could not afford? Did she believe that God would reward her with a kitchen full of groceries? Probably not. That wasn’t the point Jesus was trying to make. What she gave more of, Jesus implied, was love. She was more in love with God than those who based their donations on the surplus of their wealth. Her stewardship was based on her love for God and her awareness of his love for her.
Trust comes from a mutual exchange of genuine love. We’ve become distrustful because people have violated our trust. Of course, we know that God is far more trustable than they are. Thus, we can be like that widow who loved God so much that trusting him to take care of her felt natural.
Think of Christian parents who send their grown children off into their adult lives. The newly fledged, inexperienced young adults explore their independence in a college or work environment where there are many temptations to discard what their parents have taught them. This usually coincides with letting go of their parents’ faith in order to take personal ownership of the faith, which can take years and which makes them even more vulnerable to temptation, especially in today’s culture.
Parents who love Jesus find themselves praying for their children much more fervently now. Trusting Jesus becomes crucial for sanity! Their ability to influence their children’s lives has become like the widow’s two small coins. There is very little to give their children that will make a difference, but they give it with great love. It’s a sacrificial love that their children won’t understand until they have children of their own. But Jesus understands, approves, and appreciates the gift.
If you are currently experiencing the suffering that comes from that kind of sacrificial love, be assured that your prayers for your children are healing balm for Jesus. Although they have rejected your faith and your guidance, Jesus feels the pain worse than you do. You could be anesthetizing yourself from the angst of knowing that your children have rejected you and your faith, by convincing yourself that “it’s really all okay; to each his own,” but Jesus would miss the union that he longs to have with you. Your tears, your heartbreak, your prayers that come from deep longings for your children’s spiritual welfare are your gift to Jesus: You are sharing in his burdens, lightening his load.
When we entrust the little we have to our Lord’s mighty power, God redeems their value. We live the life of the redeemed!