“He called to his disciples and said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you that this poor widow has given more than all those giving to the treasury box. For all of them gave of their surplus, but she, out of her lack, has given all that she had – her entire living!”
– Mark 12:41-44
Out of her lack. How can we give what we do not possess? How does a widow give away all that might feed her tomorrow? I think she does it in the same way the Maccabees lit the only cruse of oil left in the ransacked temple – in faith in the faithfulness of God.
The story of Chanukah does not begin in victory, but desperation. The temple, and consequently services like the menorah’s light, had been neglected and overrun by idolatry and mixture. Hellenism had taken hold of much of Israel and left only a remnant to stand up to the increasing press of blasphemies and oppression. In a way, Judah (called Maccabee) and his brothers were themselves representative of that single cruse of oil the Father had left for Himself.
Refusing to be disheartened by their own lack, the Maccabees took up arms to cleanse the temple and saw their faith met with victory. They had no guarantee of success, or even survival, save the knowledge that their cause was after the heart of God to see His people and His name restored.
Just as the lauded widow did not devise ways to stretch her lacking provisions, but gave everything away because she trusted the One who watches over widows, so the Maccabees did not take thought to their own lives when they went to battle, nor did they seek to ration or preserve that single, precious cruse of oil when they found it was all they had to restore the proper witness and worship in the temple.
It is in moments of poverty that our faith is revealed. Really meditate on this. The Father had commanded the temple’s menorah be lit continually, and yet on the day of re-dedication, the Maccabees had only enough oil for a single day. I am convinced that their decision in that moment to obey with what they had is the reason there ever was a miracle of oil for us to celebrate today.
Contrary to our modern, worldly wisdom (fear masquerading as prudence) that would have undoubtedly counseled the Maccabees to be cautious and hold back what they had until more could be set apart, the Maccabees decision to ‘waste it all’ (sound familiar?) in one night exhibited great faith and exalted God over man. If Yeshua smiled over one widow who so gave out of her poverty, how much do you imagine the Father smiled over these brothers that night and continues to smile over you and I when we act in the same spirit?
Sometimes our lives or the lives of the ones we love can be the temples that have been overrun with idolatry and mixture, and yet even after coming to a place of cleansing, we can fear we will not have ‘enough’ to keep the lamp burning in our spirit. I hope the story of Chanukah can wash away those fears. For me, it is a reminder that all I have is always enough if I will give it all to Him. If I will obey him in the little, if I will give of my time when I have no time or of my treasure when I have no food, He is faithful to supply all my needs and to show Himself great in the earth.
ASHLEY SHAY pastors a small flock of spotted, Jacob sheep in the hills of West Virginia. She is a millennial, INTP who fancies herself an old-soul Nazarene, has worked with the persecuted church, writes for a local newspaper and designs websites while attempting to learn the guitar. She is a student of Yeshua, the Scriptures, Hebrew, MBTI and long sentences.