We are all broken. All of us, fragments of pieces shattered by the fallenness of life and our own experiences and choices. We all have holes. Voids, chasms, and caverns that seem too deep and dark to fill. I’m very aware of my voids. I’m very aware of the empty spaces that occupy my soul; very aware of the holes and vacancies that I carry. And it is in this state, not in some future fixed-up, better version of me, that God tells me to come to Him. To come and worship Him.
In Mark 12:41-44 we find the story of the widow’s offering. Jesus was sitting down watching people give their money to the offering treasury when a widow with a few coins came by:
“And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:42-44 ESV
This woman was a widow, meaning her husband had died and she therefore probably had no way of really generating income for herself. The text doesn’t say if she had children or not, but Mark is very intentional with his description of her as poor and as a widow.
Next, she is seen giving the smallest possible amount of money to give. The Amplified translation tells us that the two coins she gave equaled a mite, which was the least valuable of the Roman coin and equal to about 1/64th of a day’s wage.
So here we have a poor, husband-less woman with only two poor coins to give to the offering box. Although she gives an extremely small amount, you get the feeling that this is actually all she has to give. That she is not being stingy with her offering worship, but is actually being quite risky.
Jesus confirms this to the disciples. He not only notices that the woman gave all she had to give, but highlighted the fact that it is in this spirit that she actually gave the most! How so? Because she gave what she could. In fact, she gave all that she could. Knowing the risks, not knowing the future, probably unsure of when she would see income like that again, she gave. This widow, aware of her circumstances, aware of her shortcomings, her needs, and her holes, instead of waiting for a better fixed-up life, worshipped where she was. It was not her abundance that Jesus highlighted; it was her poverty. Her worship was only worth a mite to her and everyone else; but it was beautiful and invaluable to the onlooking Savior.
This is the image I think of when I attempt to drag myself to church most days. It’s what I try to remember as I pathetically lift my head to God after committing offensive sin against Him. It’s what I try to imagine as the pain and turmoil in my soul begs me to give up and find a way to end the suffering. I try – oh, how I try – to remember that God is not waiting for this more abundant and prosperous version of me to bring to the cross. For it was in my worse possible state, not my best, that He loved me, died for me, and saved me.
So when I think of all the things I need to work on, He says “Then worship me unfinished”. When I see how far I am from where I should be, He says “Then worship me where you are ”. When my pain and suffering feel like chains that won’t release me, He says “Then worship me in prison”. It is in the impoverished state of soul that the Lord loves to hear His children worship. Not because He is some mean God who enjoys watching His children suffer; but because He knows our fragile state and how that can often hinder us. But when we choose to worship Him where are, instead of thinking there’s more to be met before we do so, we trust Him with our all.
If you have anxiety, worship Him there, not when you worry less. If you are struggling with sin, worship Him there, not when you have your life together. If you are depressed and sad, worship Him there, not when life gets easier. If you are hurting, struggling, barely making it, it’s ok; worship Him there, not when your head is above water. This may seem hard. But it’s actually less burdensome. God is not expecting us to have it all together; that’s what Jesus is for. He wants us to trust Him where are, so that He can take us to where He is.
Jesus knows what it’s like to have holes. Just ask Him to show you His hands and feet next time you get the chance. Our worship will often not come out of abundance. Sometimes it will and praise the Lord when it does! But even if your life is poor, for whatever reason, give Him your poverty. Give what you have to give, even if it’s a measly two coins. For God loves holey and mitey worship.