Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’
Early in my banking career I was as a loan officer – a role which required careful analysis of applications.
I was confronted once with a loan request that made little sense. I sat down with my customer one afternoon (these were days when you could meet with your bank manager!) and went through a cash flow with them. All became clear. What they needed was very different to what they had applied for! Time taken to clarify the situation meant I could offer something that genuinely helped my customer move forward.
Perhaps we need a similar approach to Jesus’ teaching on money in Luke’s Gospel: to take the time to listen to what Scripture says, even when it’s surprising, in order to respond appropriately. Jesus does indeed constantly surprise us, not least in his attitude towards wealth and giving.
Jesus, when coming to his home town of Nazareth after being tested in the wilderness, was clear about the generosity that would characterise his public ministry. Speaking from Isaiah he proclaimed: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.’ Despite that generosity his home crowd refused to believe him and almost threw him off a cliff!
Then in Luke 21 Jesus commends a poor widow not for the amount she gave in monetary terms, but for the fact that she gave everything she had. Hers was a literal reliance on the Lord. She had so little to live on yet all she had, she gave to him.
Christians in Financial Services may have unique opportunities to show generosity in the way they approach their customers. But the invitation to listen carefully to people on our frontlines who are in need (financially or otherwise), and to figure out how we can genuinely serve them as Christ would, is for all of us. Irrespective of our occupation, we all have an opportunity like that widow to be generous in giving, whether it be with our money, time, or talents. To recognise that it is not the size of our gift that matters, but that we give our all to the one who gave everything for us: the Lord Jesus Christ.
May we live as generous people.
Associate & Former Work Forum Director, LICC
Where is God calling you to show generosity on your frontline this week? Join in the conversation in the comments below.