32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 17:10-16
“…she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.”
I know someone who lives by the mantra, “Go big or go home!” (I can almost hear someone else giggling now) She is a woman of means and certainly can well afford to always ‘go big’ in whatever she does. But for those of us living in the reality of either a monthly/weekly paycheck, or on a nest egg fastidiously built up during our ‘productive years’, our mindsets are totally different. So aside from our commitments and obligations to our families (including parents, for some), it can be a stretch to think about being charitable, let alone generous, to our fellow brothers and sisters.
Today’s reading came as a huge ‘wake up’ call to me. Considering the past few weeks where work has been trying, and there have been shifting dynamics to cope with, I have been looking forward to this 5-day silent retreat I am currently on (it began yesterday). It is much needed time with God to refocus and realign in order to not lose sight of why I am where I am now — at work, in ministry (not just this one), and as a child of God.
I have just gone through a period of questioning what I had left in me to give to others, because I was too busy trying to fend for myself and my well-being — at work and at home. And with no ‘physical work’ at the centre where I serve, I was beginning to slide into what I call a ‘spiritual inertia’ — just going with the flow, without any sort of spark or impetus to do any more, but just the bare minimum. This silent retreat I am on will, hopefully, reveal what is it that I should focus on in terms of my calling and how best I should manage my time in serving God. Yes, there are those who firmly believe in letting God take the wheel and then trusting Him, no matter how much is thrown at them. However, I have reflected before on how learning to say ‘No’ is also a form of ‘Yes’ to God.
Someone recently mentioned that we should never be afraid to, in holiness, give back to God what is not of God. In this season of my life, I am looking at what I have to give, not just to those around me (my family, the one who giggled, my friends who have been journeying with me), but also where I should acknowledge that I am ‘wasting time’ doing what is not life-giving to me.
I do admit, it is a somewhat selfish way of looking at things; but, I think that because there is only so much one can give (just like the poor widow in today’s Gospel), one needs to be careful about managing his/her resources of time, effort and love. We are human after all. So I want to make sure that the ‘all’ that I give is truly my all and not some half-hearted effort just because I signed up for it. I know what gives me life — writing, singing and playing the violin (when called upon). Anything else, especially coordinating, administrating and communicating, I already have my fill with at work.
Brothers and sisters, just because we hit a ‘dry patch’ in our spiritual journey doesn’t mean that we lack the means to give back to others. It IS relative after all. What we need to acknowledge is that God will always be pleased with however little we can afford to give — as long as it comes from the heart. Because however small or insignificant our gift is, trust that God will take it and multiply it many, many times over.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: We pray that God continues to give us the grace to give what little we have to those around us — our families, our loved ones, our colleagues, our fellow brothers and sisters in ministry, our neighbours; even the stranger who catches our eye.
Thanksgiving: I thank you Lord, for giving me the gifts I have to help others come to know you.