One of my favourite lessons from the Bible is that of the Widow's mite. It speaks of a poor and lowly woman, a widower with probably no support, who was still prepared to give the little she had. So she came in to church with her two tiny coins, to drop in the offering bowl, while the rich on the other hand probably only gave a small portion of all their wealth. This struggling woman willingly gave all she had in humility, while others in a more fortunate position may have looked down their noses at her meagre offering.
41 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. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44 New International Version
Learning to give my all to God at all times, regardless of misconceptions, is definitely one of the hardest life lessons I've had to accept. There are points in life that we may feel we have nothing left to give, because it seems like we have already given our best, but we cannot continue to bask in the light of yesterdays glory. Reminds me of the scripture that speak of serving God in our youth:
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Ecclesiastes 12:1 King James Bible
Another version says: Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, "Life is not pleasant anymore."
Ecclesiastes 12:1 New Living Translation
It's not only about age, but it's about times and seasons, which are a natural process in life. The truth is that there will be times when we cannot do as much as we would like to, due to circumstances which are beyond our control. So while our hearts are still fully committed, we must be patient and learn to adapt until the new season is in full circle.
Sometimes, it’s a simple case of losing our perspective, because we can no longer see what we do have, or do not regard what we have as valuable. At such low times as these, we may not even be in the right frame of mind to sensibly evaluate what we do have, and may be too quick to dismiss it.
Most of the time we don't even know what God is requiring of us anyway, because we haven't stopped to ask. We are expecting it to be something big, extremely complex and of such unadulterated excellence that it must probably be unobtainable, but God doesn't work like that.
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:6-8 New Living Translation
He has already equipped us with what we need to be excellent. However most importantly, what He needs from us is to give all we have. It may not even be a 'finished' or 'polished' work, but in our giving of it wholeheartedly, He will take it and use it for His excellence.
You see, it doesn't really matter what other people may think of your gift, or the quality and quantity of what you’re giving, by implying that it may not be up to scratch or suggesting that it's too insignificant to present before God, just start with giving what you've got and let God do the perfecting.
Life experiences can change your perspective in an instant, a change that could last forever. The goal posts of your existence are immediately repositioned, and there is a complete transformation of the mind. You don't see life as a big competition anymore, and your priorities change because your focus has changed.
So, in all we're giving today, let our focus be on God and not on any man. Who are we trying to please anyway? God can see your sacrifice, and He alone knows how much it has cost you.