How Far Would You Go to Change?
Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. Luke 21:3-4
Most of us can identify with repeatedly trying – and failing – to change some self-destructive behavior. Whether it’s our eating, explosive anger, lust, resentment, or drug addiction, we have promised ourselves a thousand times we’ll change, only to fail a thousand times. Frustrated, we feel that our efforts are futile as we begin to believe that we are incapable of change. This is hopeless. I’ve done everything I can, and I cannot stop. I might as well give up.
I felt this way in my drug addiction. I told myself I’d do anything to change, but what I really meant was that I’d just decided in my mind to stop. I said I’d done everything I could, but in truth, I’d done nothing but think really hard about changing. When my addiction was dragged into the light for everyone to see, I suddenly found the motivation to get help. In treatment, it wasn’t difficult to remain sober. When I actually made dramatic changes, something actually changed.
In today’s passage, Jesus and his followers observed a poor widow make a humble deposit in the offering box at the temple. Jesus made a lesson of her small gift, saying that it meant more to God than the wealthy’s large offerings because she gave everything she had. This widow held nothing back, giving to God with complete abandon.
Half measures availed us nothing (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 59). The problem with our failed attempts at change usually isn’t that we’re incapable of change. It’s that we’ve held back and remained unwilling to do what it takes to actually change. We think transformation happens in our mind. I swear I’ll never do it again! That’s not change though. Change is doing, actually turning around and going in the other direction.
If we want to see transformation in our lives, we must realize that half measures are useless. We must not just think about change, but we must act. We must do whatever it takes to abandon our old life to pursue the new one that God intends for us. If we’re not there, we’ve not gone far enough. Like the poor widow, we must follow God with complete abandon.