The Shirt Off Her Back

Shirt off her back

A bright piece of clothing had been pushed to the back of my barren staff mailbox.  It wasn’t a complete dichotomy to the usual letters and reports that could be found in my mailbox.  On occasion, I will find children’s clothing or items that are put in my box so that I can pass them on to a child or shore up our clothes closet when our students are muddy or wet.

However, upon closer inspection I found a bright pink spaghetti-strapped tank top flanked with cascading ruffles.   I squinted at the folded tag, thinking it was a trifle big for our teeny students, and noticed that it held a medium label in an adult name brand.  I looked quizzically at our Administrative Assistant and asked if she knew where the top came from.  Yes, she did.   A mother of one of our students had brought it in and asked that it be put in my mailbox.  As the story went, I had noticed it on this woman the year before and complimented her on how lovely she looked in it.  She now wanted me to have it.

I was touched by this mother’s action but my initial thoughts towards the actual garment were rather uncharitable.  It was much too big for my petite form and in a hue that I never wore due to my light coloring.  Why would this woman want me to have her top?  It wasn’t something I was ever going to wear.

Yes, why would she remember that moment last year and literally give me the shirt off her back?  I had no recollection of our momentary interaction so long ago. Something had touched her though.  Was it the moment when my face lit up at seeing her?  Or was it after I told her how the color complemented the delightful color in her face, that she felt adored?  Did she experience the feeling of being in the presence of someone who found her wholly acceptable and even more than that, unconditionally loved?

Because that’s what happened with the widow and her mite.  Like this sweet mother, the widow was poverty stricken.  She didn’t have a cash flow so that when she gave, she was fully secure in the knowledge that more finances or goods would come to her or were already in her coffers.  Instead, the widow knew that when she stood before God, she was loved beyond any human measure.  God’s face lit up and in the moment when she basked in His love and grace, she knew that she was wholly acceptable and unconditionally loved.  Out of that love and gratitude for what her Creator extended to her, the widow gave 2 lepta, a pittance in giving, but all that she had.

The adorable little top may not be my size or color but I will keep it.  It will be a reminder to me that those miniscule moments when I extend honor or love to someone may be needed more than I will ever know.   It may also be a moment in time, when they see not my face, but a momentary look into the love and heart of God.   In experiencing the love of God, our response is often to be overwhelmed with a desire for gratitude and worship, extending back to God whatever small gifts we possess.   The bright pink shirt is a reminder that love creates relationships.   Now go love on someone this day!


Luke 21:1-4 (ESV)
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, (2) and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. (3) And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. (4) For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

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