Israel is not really a place of souvenirs. It’s not Disney World. Or even New York City. There’s something sacred about it—about being in the place where Jesus walked, where His hands reached out and healed, where His words echoed off of simple stone walls. And something about all of that assures you that a t-shirt would not properly commemorate the moment.
But it is also a place you never want to forget you walked. I stood there, and I never wanted to forget the way the Spirit of God whipped through the dusty wind and touched my own spirit in a way that left me forever marked.
The word souvenir is actually the French verb for to remember. (I took 6.5 years of French and this is one of the only tidbits of information that I actually retained so I feel compelled to share it).
To commemorate the things we never want to forget.
And so when I stood in that gift shop with my dad, and he asked if there was anything I wanted, I showed him that widow’s mite—that tiny dark coin hanging from a simple gold chain.
I love and I hate the story of the widow’s offering:
And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. (Mark 12:41-44)
I love it because He saw her. I hate it because it doesn’t seem that she ever knew it.
All she had to live on.
She gave everything. And it looked so much like nothing. And haven’t we all felt that way? And haven’t we all thrown two copper coins into the clatter of everyone else’s wealth? And haven’t we walked away empty-handed and wondered if anyone even noticed? And haven’t we wondered if all we have will ever be enough?
My dad clasped that tiny coin around my neck, and my Father whispered, “You are enough.”
We keep looking down at our hands and wondering what we have to give.
Our God keeps looking at His hands and seeing the scars of all He had to give. And right there, on those nail-pierced palms, our names are forever inscribed (Isaiah 49:16).
Life Himself gave all He had to live on. Jesus breathed His last and declared it finished (John 19:30).
And right there we find our rest. We don’t have to bring enough. We’re just invited to bring it all. And everything we have turns out to just be ourselves. And the world may never declare us to be enough.
May your weekend be one of that kind of rest. May you hear our Father whisper your worth. May you know it is much greater than those two half-cents you’re clicking together in your sweaty palm. May you throw them recklessly at the feet of our great God. And may you find your freedom and your rest there in the presence of the One who sees.
I keep clasping that simple gold chain around my neck because I want to remember.
I want to remember the whisper of a Father declaring us enough in the midst of a world that never will.
I want to remember that the delight of our Father was never really in the size of our offering but in the fact that it brings us right here to His feet.
I want to remember that when our empty hands reach for nail-pierced palms, we find His grip on us is sure (John 10:28).