August 24, 2014
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
It was a number of years ago that the home economics department at the University of Minnesota received a rather strange phone call.
On the other end of the line was a lady who wanted to know if a turkey was safe to eat. She explained that her mother had moved to a nursing home and now she was cleaning out her mom's house. Right now her work was centered on her mother's freezer. During her digging, at the very bottom of the chest-type freezer, she had discovered a large, frozen turkey.
Further investigation revealed, according to the date on the tag, that turkey had been in the freezer for some 23 years.
Talking to one of the school's representatives, the woman asked, "Is the bird safe to eat?"
The home economist drew a deep breath and ventured, "No, I don't think you should eat it. In fact, I'm pretty sure the bird could make you sick."
"I thought so," came the reply. "I'll just give it to my local food shelf."
How's that for a gross story?
Both literally and figuratively, the idea of giving spoiled leftovers to the poor kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn't it?
Now I know most people wouldn't ever think of doing such a thing. Sadly, many of those same people don't have much of a problem giving leftovers to the Lord.
Far too many believers attend church only when they don't have grass to cut or errands to run on a Sunday morning. Too many churches are strapped financially because people give their offerings to the Lord after every other bill is paid. Too many programs don't get done because God gets leftovers of time.
That's sad. It's especially sad when we think of what would happen to us if God had the same attitude toward us and our salvation.
Thankfully, the Lord didn't say, "I'll get around to promising a Savior to rescue fallen humanity when I've got nothing else in the universe occupying My time." He didn't think, offering My Son to save sinners? -- that's too costly a price to pay. No, when God gave to us, He gave the best: He gave His Son. When He met the price of saving us, nothing was held back. Jesus lived, died and rose so all who believe on Him might be saved from an eternity in hell.
All of this leads us to say, as did Luther, "For all of which it is our duty to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him."
This is most certainly true.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You never put sinful humanity on the back burner; nor did You offer us leftovers for our salvation. Moved by Your example, may I respond in kind and offer You my grateful best. This I ask in the Name of Jesus who died so I might live. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries