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.