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The depth of our devotion to Christ is inseparable from the quality of the service which we offer to him. If our relationship with God is right, then we will set aside as a matter of course some of the best of our labor. In the list of our life's priorities God will not be an afterthought.

And yet, more often than not, we offer to God only that which is left over of the gifts that he has generously given us to enjoy. We are like the family who donated to the poor only the things from their cupboard that they would not otherwise use, and expected to be congratulated for their thoughtful generosity.

Jesus on the other hand took particular note of the sacrifice represented in the poor widow's gift to the poor box of the temple. In spite of her poverty, she was able to offer the whole of her livelihood to those she felt were even worse off. Although her gift was small, it was nonetheless counted to be greater than the large sums of others that had been given out of their abundance. Her gift represented sacrifice; theirs did not. The fundamental principle that Jesus sought to emphasize through this widow's example is that love is lavish. It does not think about how much it can withhold, but how much it can give. Love's devotion not only pays a price, it does so willingly and with unfeigned generosity. In the beautiful words of King David, love says, "I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24). David understood that like the widow, so too he had to made an offering that represented true sacrifice rather than empty and effortless formalism.

What can we give to the Lord that would cost us something? Perhaps it could be a timely visit to someone who is homebound and starved for company. It might be a gift for the poor that is made possible by denying ourselves some small or frivolous luxury. For each of us the sacrifice is different; but it is made in the sure knowledge that it pleases Him who sacrificed His all for us. He deserves more than just
the leftovers.

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