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A few copper coins

Dec. 15, 2008

by Herald Journal & Enteprise Dispatch Editor Lynda Jensen

Times are tough all over, and jobs are being lost everywhere. Things look dim.

For those of us left who still have good jobs, a good home, over-abundance of food, and more of all we need (not “want” – a big difference there), then it should be a reflective time to remember others who are less fortunate (honestly, this is true year-round, no matter how bad the economy is).

“I can’t give much. There’s nothing left after bills,” you might say. This is probably true. It’s tight, and fear of what the future might hold is a powerful motivator. It will get worse before it gets better.

But let’s not forget the lesson of the poor widow in the Bible, who tossed two small copper coins in the temple offering. That’s all – two Roman coins worth a fraction of a penny.

But her gift attracted the attention of Jesus, who praised her not for volume or extravagance – not false generosity based out of excess – but for her priorities, faith, and generosity in her time of need.

Being a widow during that time period meant she had no means to support herself, since her husband would have been her sole source of income. In the words of Jesus, she gave to the church all she had to live on.

What kind of faith is that? To divide almost nothing from nothing and then give a share to the church? Good for her (and “Wow, that’s a little nuts”).

But why not borrow this new definition of generosity and practice deeper faith? Surely we have a few copper coins to share. It’s all about what you DO with your coins, not how many of them you have. So please “do.”

A Minnesota winter and the homeless

Right now, we’re in the middle of an arctic blast. Weather forecasters predict mindless wind chills and bone-chilling temperatures.

Do you wonder about the homeless on a cold night? I do. Do you think about them during the day, when they can’t stay at a shelter? I do. Many of them are children.

Why not make a donation to Mary Jo Copeland’s inner-city ministry, Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis (www.sharingandcaringhands.org)?

Remember, it only needs to be “a few copper coins.” Just send them $10 or $20. You’d be surprised at what it buys.

Ninety-three percent of the money given to Sharing and Caring Hands goes to the poor right here in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities.

Sharing and Caring Hands
525 North 7th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Here are some statistics on Sharing and Caring Hands:

• They don’t take any government money. Their operations are solely funded by private donations.

• Sharing and Caring Hands serve a quarter million meals each year.

• The Mary’s Place Transitional Shelter houses more than 500 people each night (396 children and 150 adults in 92 apartments).

• They gave 10,000 showers last year (210 each week) to those without access to bathing facilities.

Another suggestion is to make a donation to The Salvation Army, who (for readers who remember this) helped our family through my husband’s deployment in 2005. This is a good organization that forwards donations directly to those who need it. Send donations to:

The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 269
Alexandria, VA 22313

Quotes to remember

“Wishing will never be a substitute for prayer.” – Ed Cole

“Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” – Mary C. Crowley