A desire for fellowship with others who experience limitations similar to mine has resulted in an ever-widening circle of companions via social networking. Most of us are homebound due to physical difficulties; we are better able to manage health concerns at home. Interestingly, a common thread runs through many of our conversations: what do we do with our time, and how do we accomplish what we think we should be doing?
At one time, I had plans of the grand things I would accomplish, including earning income to help with the expenses of having multiple kids in college at the same time. I scaled back these plans as I gradually realized there wasn’t anywhere I could work that wouldn’t exacerbate my health issues. My next vision of training to be a biblical counselor at my church was cut short when it occurred to me that the same limitations applied to this plan. Not deterred from an attempt at productivity, I came to realize that there was more than enough work to be done within my home for the number of people with food and digestion difficulties living here. Each meal required careful planning for 4 different diets, and everything had to be prepared from scratch. The mountain of dirty dishes resulting from this adventure created more for me to do.
With the increasing number of health issues that have plagued me recently, there has been an decrease in my ability to adequately complete the tasks I set out to do at home though. There have been days that simply getting a shower has required more energy than my body has in it, and I have spent several hours trying to recover from this seemingly basic task. For several weeks following surgery, others in the family did all the cooking, dishes, and laundry. While my endurance has improved since that time, I still find myself unable to complete what I think I should be able to do at home. At times, I feel guilty, a feeling that I frequently hear expressed by others in similar situations. We find ourselves giving all that we have to give, but it just doesn’t seem that it is very much sometimes.
One day as I struggled with these feelings of guilt, the biblical account of the woman with the two coins came to my mind:
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
I had never really processed this Bible portion to the extent that my current situation has caused me to do. Although my struggle at this time is not an issue of giving money, the overarching point still applies. On the days that all I can do is get the dishes put away because my body simply will not go any further, God is aware that I have given all I can, and that is pleasing to Him as long as I have done it with a heart that desires to serve Him.
From “Thrice Happy Day!” by Charles Spurgeon
I need not say, probably, that there is no giving so acceptable to God as that which is most costly to us. The widow’s mite was precious not because it was a mite, but because it was all that she had.
This is freedom from guilt…a relationship with a loving Father who has forgiven my sins by His grace, not what I have done (Ephesians 2:8-9). His concern is for what is truly in my heart, a heart that is giving all it can even when that is simply the two coins of a smile and a “thank you” to the person serving me something to eat. These coins are good works, fruit of the Holy Spirit, and pleasing to God.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7