When You Don’t Have Much To Offer

January 10, 2018

This post is written from the perspective of my Christian faith but I think it will resonate with any of my readers who desire to love and do good in the world whether they are Christian or not.


As you all know, these last two months have been a bit more difficult for me health-wise. One night, when I was feeling particularly sad and discouraged I confided in Brett, “I’m scared that God isn’t going to say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ when I get to heaven. I feel like I’m not doing anything. I’m too sick to serve God and people. I’m not contributing anything to the kingdom.”

This wasn’t the first time I’ve battled such discouragement. It was even worse when I was wasting away in bed for months that turned into years. I was so sick that I couldn’t handle most contact with other human beings. At times all I could think about was how to get relief from the pain. I certainly wasn’t serving anyone. Worse than that, my sickness was a huge drain on my husband and family. I felt like I was a burden and my life was pointless.

I think most chronic illness sufferers can relate. And I think even healthy people can feel limited and useless for other reasons. So, I wanted to share with you a story from the Bible that has reassured me during those painful moments of discouragement.

And he [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 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 12:41-44

Take heart friends, you may have less energy and health to work with but you can still give what little you can. And in the eyes of Jesus, your feeble expression of gratitude to your caregivers can be more significant than someone else’s founding a non-profit. Just give what you have to give.

The sick mom heating up canned soup for her family in the microwave may be giving more than the mom who is cooking an all organic meal from scratch.

The sick wife who takes three hours to write a simple birthday card in between waves of pain may be giving more than the healthy wife who organizes a big birthday party.

The sick friend who replies to a text message when her head is pounding and she’s trying not to vomit may be giving more than the healthy one who invites a friend over for dinner.

The sick believer who fights to concentrate enough to say a two sentence prayer for a person in need may be giving more than the healthy ones who are leading bible studies and starting ministries.

The people we love may not always realize this, but we can rest assured that Christ is watching and he knows. He knows our hearts. He knows that what a suffering person has to give looks different than what a healthy person has to give.

And he’s a God who counts two copper coins a priceless gift.


By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.

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36 Comments

  • Laura Davison

    This makes me want to cry so much 😓 I can relate 100%. And I’ve also been feeling like God won’t say “well done, good and faithful servant” to me. Thank you for sharing your struggles with this so openly. And thank you for the reminder of the widow’s two coppers.
    And, just so you know, I am very grateful for you and your friendship. Just knowing are out there and you care is a huge blessing.
    Love you dearly ❤❤

    January 10, 2018 at 10:09 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… I’m so glad it encouraged you Laura! Thank you so much for your kind words. I don’t feel like I’m a very good friend but I’m glad I can still be of encouragement. Love you! 💕

      January 11, 2018 at 11:55 am Reply
  • Bethany Rose

    This is so true, Ana! Thanks for sharing.

    January 11, 2018 at 1:46 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thanks Bethany! 💕

      January 11, 2018 at 5:45 pm Reply
  • Alathia

    Ana, this is so encouraging to me! Following your journey and praying for you and Brett has helped me as I fight chronic illness in my own life. Thank you for writing. This was beautiful 🙂

    January 11, 2018 at 5:20 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m so glad to hear that Alathia! It’s such a blessing to know that just my own story can be of help to others. God bless you sister!

      January 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm Reply
  • Kimi Harris

    This is beautiful, Ana! Such an encouraging word. I felt the Lord impress this same lesson on my heart years ago, but hadn’t thought of it for years. Thanks for the reminder.

    January 11, 2018 at 7:02 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thanks Kimi! 💕

      January 12, 2018 at 2:47 pm Reply
  • Ruth Meyer

    I needed this today, Ana. My family is recovering from the flu bug we have had since Christmas, and the house looks like a bomb went off. Picking up the huge mess (bags of tissues, scary bathrooms, laundry, dishes, etc), and trying to get life back to “normal” while still really exhausted has been trying. Your words remind me to be thankful for any day I can do even a small thing, and to thank the Lord for helping me. We all still have various health issues, so “normal” is still a pretty broken state, but at least we aren’t all in “critical”, where we walk around like zombies and no one knows who will be well enough to care for the others. We have definitely come through this as a family, and I’m really thankful for that. I often feel I’m not giving, or able to give, enough to my family. These last few weeks I think we’ve all been able to relate to each other better, and can understand how to help each other in new ways. Blessings in the midst of burdens–so, that’s a thing. 🙂 Your words really encouraged me, thank you, Ana!

    January 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m so sorry you had such a chaotic week Ruth! Sounds pretty miserable! I’m glad my post was able to encourage you. Keep fighting the good fight. 💕

      January 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm Reply
  • Julieta

    It seems to me that you are serving God by sharing your story and keeping it real. Your message truly encourages others that have no strength. I can assure you that God is saying “WELL DONE!” to you.
    Thank you for sharing Ana

    January 11, 2018 at 8:29 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thanks for the encouraging words Julieta!

      January 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm Reply
  • Christine McCutcheon

    Thank you Anna! Very inspirational and I can see how this might apply to different areas in my life. God ‘s blessing on you! Keep writing these great viewpoints !! I am enjoying them!!

    January 12, 2018 at 3:49 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww! Thank you so much for commenting Mrs. McCutcheon. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      January 12, 2018 at 2:49 pm Reply
  • Alyssa

    Thanks for sharing this! It is a great reminder that it’s not the quantity of giving, but the quality of the heart of the give that God cares about.

    Recently I’ve been encouraged by 2 Corinthians 8:13 (talking about giving generously): “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.”

    xo

    January 12, 2018 at 8:34 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Beautiful! Thank you Alyssa!

      January 12, 2018 at 2:50 pm Reply
  • LeRoy Michaelson

    I grew up know only a God of Shame. Took me many, many, many years to learn about a God of Grace. Along the way, I learned that I was a human BEing, not a human DOing. He loves you (and I) just where we are.

    January 12, 2018 at 10:42 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      That’s definitely true LeRoy! All human life has value and it is not measured by how much a person can do.

      January 12, 2018 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • JOYCE ZIMMERMAN

    So sweet, Ana. A good word to do what we can and what God is calling us to do.
    I thought of you and Brett when I was with your family for their Christmas get together. It would be special to see you again. You are in my prayers, often. Love you, Tia Joyce

    January 12, 2018 at 11:47 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Good to hear from you Aunt Joyce! I too would love to see you again. Thank you for commenting. Love you! 💕

      January 12, 2018 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • James

    I think that it is helpful to remember that life is long and that contributions, including yours, that change the world, or at least someone else’s life, for the better, can happen in moment and that moment could be an hour from now or 50 years from now. In fact I am sure you, and pretty much everyone else in this world, has already contributed far more than you realize. I bet if you think back over your life you can find numerous times where you have given an encouraging word or imparted some skill or knowledge to another (I think this blog alone would qualify in spades on both counts). Hang in there and realize that in nature things take time, seeds can lie dormant for decades before sprouting and bears hibernate for over half the year – doing “nothing” in our eyes, but do you think that’s the way God see it?

    January 12, 2018 at 1:10 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much for writing this James! I absolutely agree with what you’re saying. Such a good reminder. 🙂

      January 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm Reply
  • Chris Barratt

    Wow!!!! This post was amazing, Ana!! And I so needed to hear this. Lately, I’ve been struggling with feeling like this myself. Like I’m not doing enough with my life to serve God and in the whole scheme of things, when you compare little me, to large people that have huge ministries etc, that my contribution is so very small. And I think our current culture only feeds into this, with everyone striving to be noticed, develope huge platforms, and have stunning bios. God has been working on me though, through His word and a little book called, “Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed” by Sara Haggerty. And the truth of it all is that God doesn’t really need me to “do” or “be” anything for Him. He’s God and our job here is to offer our lives in whatever manner he calls us to, big or small. But most importantly to worship and have relationship with Him. Yes, we all want to feel valuable and like we’re making an impact. I think He gave us these desires, but it’s what kind of impact and how He measures it, that’s important. And to Him, making soup for your sick neighbor, listening to your child read a story, or saying thank you to your husband for taking care of you, is just as important as having an international ministry. When I think of all the missionaries serving daily, day in and day out, with no recognition at all. That’s devotion and love for God and people!! Thank you so much for confirming what the Lord has been speaking, ever so softly to me lately!! You stated this so eloquently!! Oh, and I think you’ve actually made a huge difference for so many. Most of which you will not know until heaven!! 🙂

    January 12, 2018 at 10:08 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much for sharing this Chris! It’s so true! That sounds like a really good book.

      January 15, 2018 at 11:48 am Reply
  • Charis Rae

    This post is stunning, Ana. Not only are you opening up and telling us all about your journey (which takes a lot of courage!), but you’re encouraging and helping others (Christian or not) through your words.
    Thank you for writing this, Ana. Your words are so impactful, raw, and so very true. Keeping you in my prayers. ♡

    January 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much for this sweet comment Charis. 💕

      January 15, 2018 at 11:49 am Reply
  • Vanessa

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts; they were such an encouragement to me today. I’ve been on an elimination diet for over a year, trying to improve my health and put my Hashimoto’s disease in remission. Recovery is back and forth so much – and sometimes it’s even more discouraging to have a setback after a few good days or weeks. I’ve just started to be able to keep up with more than laundry and dishes (and my 3.5 year old son), and it’s overwhelming to realize how much I “need” to catch up on. But remembering that God sees my little effort for my family and for Him, and that He knows how difficult it is – that makes it so much more worthwhile.

    January 13, 2018 at 8:19 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m so glad it was an encouragement Vanessa! Thank you for sharing your story. I can definitely relate to it being harder to face bad days after doing well. I pray you will have more and more good days and experience complete remission. 💕

      January 15, 2018 at 11:55 am Reply
  • M.M.

    This was incredibly touching to me. I deal with chronic health issues and am mostly homebound. I long to “be” more and “do” more for God… but I do have a Christian blog that reaches thousands every month; so I suppose I need to not feel so inadequate seeing how God can take my two pennies and turn it into something much more. All glory goes to him. I so appreciate you writing this… it will stick with me.

    January 14, 2018 at 7:28 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m so sorry your comment got stuck in spam! Thank you for letting me know how my post impacted you. 💕

      January 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm Reply
  • Peytyn

    Thank you for sharing the love of a God who treasures the seemingly “insignificant” efforts faithfully given by His children, and for writing with such beautiful transparency. Your blog is a consistent source of encouragement for me, and I pray that you will continue to see progress in your recovery journey.

    January 14, 2018 at 7:22 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww! I’m so glad Peytyn! Thank you for this encouragement!

      January 15, 2018 at 4:12 pm Reply
  • Aleigha C. Israel

    Your posts are always so encouraging to me, Ana! Thank you for writing them and for your strong faith and love for God and those around you.
    I pray for you every single day! <3

    January 16, 2018 at 10:02 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I’m sorry I missed your comment Aleigha! Thank you for your kindness and your prayers. I really appreciate it. 💕

      January 18, 2018 at 5:49 pm Reply
  • Ann Tompkins

    Ana, dear, your words are so wonderful and beautifully spoken and so very true. And it’s neat that God looks at our hearts… much more than what we do or can’t do! And you have been such a testimony to our family and countless others these years in your endurance, faith and deep walk with the Lord in the midst of much suffering, pain and hardships! And you continue to trust and cling to Him and keep your beautiful smile… in the midst! And yes, as you wrote in your last posts …you have come so far and doing so much (the hiking and dancing, etc) and we have been blessed to be with you and Brett on this very difficult journey! And to see Brett’s love and care for you, has so ministered to our hearts! Love, hugs and prayers! Ann, Chuck and Gabriella

    January 16, 2018 at 9:39 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thank you so much Mrs. Tompkins! Such sweet and encouraging words. Thank you so much for your prayers and support over the years. Much love to you and Mr. Tompkins and Gabriella. 💕

      January 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm Reply

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