Wisdom of Widows

Year B Pentecost 24 – Ruth 1:1Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17;Psalm 127;Hebrews 9:24-28;Mark 12:38-44

The Book of Ruth is just as much a book of Naomi. Naomi was aware of local customs and instructed Ruth to lay down at Boaz’s feet while he was sleeping. Ruth embraced her mother-in-law’s faith full-heartedly – even when it didn’t make sense. This led to Ruth’s remarriage and giving birth to King David’s grandfather.

The wisdom of widow’s is articulated in Psalm 127. Any work done apart from God is hopeless. Children are understood as a heritage from God. To protect, develop, and promote the growth of the next generation is at the heart of Naomi’s wisdom.

It also helps us to find hope when we are caught up in the middle of seemingly hopeless cycles of struggles. When your world shrinks so small that you think about nothing else than survival, it expands with an understanding of God’s providence and care.

The Book of Hebrews provides an end to systems that oppress to the point where we cannot see beyond one crisis at a time. Jesus offered himself as one sacrifice for all: for all people; for all time. Christ suffered the common human destiny of death and judgment.

However, physical death was not the end to his suffering. He was vindicated by resurrection, not reincarnation. This bolsters the widow’s understanding that faith in God’s work is superior to human attempts for escaping catastrophes.

The widow in Mark’s gospel gave out of poverty, not abundance. Her contribution was equivalent to a full day’s wage. As a widow in that culture, there was no one to replenish her offering, yet she gave it anyway.

Her wisdom is contrasted by the crowd who give from their abundance. God is not interested in what we give or how much we give – whether it be time, talent or monies. God is interested in why we give.

Why do you give to God? Who do you trust through Life’s crises? How do you respond when faced with seemingly hopeless odds? Embrace the wisdom of widows and you will find hope!

Published by St Johns Papatoetoe

Presbyterian Church, Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe, Auckland, New Zealand belonging to Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ).

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